Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Survive the test of time?

By R.J. Harlick

When you have a book published, maybe several, what are your thoughts, for the future? Is the book something you hope will be found and read, in 50 years? Or do you know, going in, that you may become out of print, a thing of history...or forgotten? What is your hope?

Future? What’s that? My words would live on? I wish….

No, not really. I write for the moment, for the fun of it, for the thrill experienced when I complete the first draft, when the last polishing has been done on words I thought couldn’t be polished anymore, when I finally hold these words bound under a bright new cover, when I personalize and sign the title page for a fan or a new reader, when I receive a glowing letter from a fan or read a favourable review.

I enjoy creating my own fictional world, creating plots with twists that keep my readers guessing until the very end, creating characters that take on lives of their own and creating places that come alive in my readers’ minds.

With my words, I hope to transport my readers to another world, to give them a respite from their busy lives, to introduce them to cultures and places that may not be their own and to acquaint them with the things that aren’t always right in this world.

But I can’t say that I have ever given thought to my words living on into the future. After all, they are mysteries, meant to be enjoyed for the moment. I doubt they will even be in print ten years from now, let alone fifty. Mind you the electronic versions will no doubt still lurk in the bottomless electronic black hole. But with the thousands of new ebooks being added everyday, I doubt anyone would be able to find them.

I think the most I could hope for is that fifty years from now, someone stumbles across a copy lost in the back library shelves or buried away in storage, pulls it out, cracks open the brittle cover and finds themselves transported into Meg’s world.

Before I sign off, I just want to say how much I am enjoying writing for Criminal Minds. I was rather leery at first, not being one to keep even my own blog up-to-date. But I am finding this question format suits me. It makes me explore aspects of my writing I’ve never given thought about before. Thanks, guys, for inviting me to join you. You rock.

As a last note, my latest Meg Harris mystery, Silver Totem of Shame, is now out on bookstore shelves in Canada and the U.S. and available at all ebook stores.


Catriona McPherson said...

That seems like a very healthy attitude, RJ. It's hard to imagine enjoying a book that someone wrote "for posterity"!

It's lovely to hear that you're as glad you came to CM as we are (that you came. And that we came. Not that you're not part of "we". Argh. Writing is hard.

Susan C Shea said...

RJ, I echo Catriona's comment. I also wonder if all of those authors whose work has never left the canon - Jane Austen, for example - thought they were writing for posterity? I think of the self-conscious writers - Hemingway, for example - and believe they were looking out into the future. Like you, I'm happy to be read today, never mind 50 years from now!

P.S. Glad you're in Minds!

RJ Harlick said...

Thanks, Susan and Catriona. I agree it unlikely even the literary greats were looking beyond the immediate goal of getting the book written and published.

Meredith Cole said...

We're so happy you're part of CM, too, RJ! I love the question format, too. And I love hearing what everyone has to say!