Monday, August 21, 2017

An out of season valentine

Q: (Besides getting rich) how has the writing life changed you as a person?

-from Susan

A: Sorry to be late posting today. I could blame it on the eclipse but that would be a lie...I want to get serious for a minute with my answer. In 2008, my wonderful life partner died. I had just begun to query agents about my first novel - maybe sent 3 letters - before his illness went into its critical phase. Of course, everything else stopped while I had the privilege of caring for him. 

He died at the end of March. I had already signed up for a mystery writers conference in July and since he said to me 10 days before he died, "You have to get an agent before I die," I knew how ardently he wanted my new career to go forward. I signed up for an agent review at the conference and had the extraordinary good fortune to have her offer to represent me on the spot. In the bad economic climate of august 2008, she sold the book.

Before that, I had begun to find new friends among my fellow writers, published and unpublished. But with the degree of credibility and acceptance that my book contract brought, I was embraced more widely into the crime fiction community. Four books later, this mutually supportive, far-ranging, and lively cohort has become so important to my well-being, my sense of self, my optimism, and my deep satisfaction. The writing community kept my spirits up, offered me comfort and encouragement, and cheered my books as they came out. 

What would 2008 and beyond been like without the momentum of a writing career, the validation of publishers, and the people? I don't know, but I know my life is much richer as a result. 

So, thank you one and all, readers, editors, agents, writers!

5 comments:

RJ Harlick said...

Lovely post, Susan.

RM Greenaway said...

This is a touching valentine, Susan. Yes, the crime writing community is maybe a little odd, but sooo warm and generous too

Susan C Shea said...

RJ and RM, I know it was a bit personal, but as RM says, ours is warm and generous. And, yes, also a bit odd, as anyone overhearing a group eating lunch and talking about the relative merits of garroting and manual strangulation might be forgiven for thinking!

James Ziskin said...

Very nice post, Susan. So glad to be one of your crime writing friends. Our arms are always there for a warm hug. Even if we do kill off legions in our books.

Susan C Shea said...

Thanks, Jim! As long as the hug doesn't morph into something lethal - research, you know!