Tuesday, January 10, 2017

In a nutshell...

This is the second reintroduction week: I've been reading with interest so far. Who are you? and Why the heck do you write? and How's it going?

It's like that first day of class, when the teacher asks everyone to say a little about themselves. I used to freeze up on even this minor challenge, but I've gotten better. Nowadays I say:  "Hi, I'm Rachel".... And then, depending on context, "I'm a writer" or "I need to learn how to format columns in Excel," or whatever. Not very colourful, but I don't mind. I actually don't like adventure much—except when it comes to fiction.

About myself:  I am basically Canadian, and grew up in a relatively bohemian home, honey and granola and not too many rules. I logged a lot of miles on foot around Vancouver in the early days. Then bumped into a guy on a beach, got married, had a kid, moved to the northern interior and secured my first respectable job, as a court reporter.

My writing career: As a tot I discovered my dad's typewriter, and realized that my amazing life could be documented. The teen me moved onto fiction. The young adult me was forced to ditch the make-believe and become employed. I continued to write, but in the abstract sense of angst-riddled poetry. Then found true love, lost the angst, and moved forward into the realization that I am but a cog and writing is time-wasting nonsense. Until...

I was working up north, as mentioned, in my first respectable job. Having the north to myself as a court reporter was great, because I got to take down entire trials:  fraud, sexual assaults, custody battles, MVAs, murder... Of course it made me want to write. Except I had no time, until....

One week I had to attend an out-of-town assignment, way up in Prince Rupert. Winter, horrible roads, so I took the Greyhound, giving me hours to mull. I've always liked to read crime fiction, but had quickly run out of my-kind-of-books from our small-town library, and so there on that bus I thought I would write my own.

I did, and the years went by. Some years I wrote a lot, some not much at all, but I wound up with ten or so decent drafts of full-length novels.

A bit about the books:  My main protagonist is an RCMP constable with a disastrous past. Dion's not-so-virtuous but easy glide through life has hit the pavement, literally. The car crash has become a blood-spattered milestone in his career, where all that came before is a mess of secrets he desperately needs to keep buried, and all that comes after is a mess of trying to get back to what he sees as his perfect, pre-crash self: brave, dashing, funny, sociable... coincidentally things I've always wanted to be myself!

Dion is not enjoying his journey of learning what matters, but I am, and I think that's also why I write, to put him through the paces, him, me, all the people I love, the things I can't say, the things I want to say, the tears and absolute hilarity that catches my attention and has nowhere to go but into my fiction.

After a long, rocky road, in 2016 this happened:

And soon, this...coming in March:


My third is now with the publisher, and I'm working on the fourth.

However lucky I feel that I hit the right buttons or chose the right door, I am much the same as before publication; I still write with great doubt alternating with great pleasure. I fear reading what I've run out of time to edit—including this blog once it's out there, and when I receive my ARC copies in the mail, I'd rather stick them in the compost than have to look back at all the bad choices I know I've made. But these are just stock-in-trade writer demons, and I'll get used to them...someday.

The really fabulous change is that I have met so many people in the course of this adventure, and a whole gang of writer friends, including the six other (or nine, actually) 7 Criminal Minds who so faithfully keep this blog going—so read onward....!

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.” Frodo Baggins about Bilbo, The Fellowship of the Ring, Three is Company


Susan C Shea said...

Ran out of crime fiction to read, so had to start writing your own! Oh, you are a writer...Congratulations on the career you've already begun and where it will go.

Paul D. Marks said...

Sounds like a terrific journy, RM. And I'm sure you got plenty of material from your court reporting days.

Lianne said...

Great post, Rachel! :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for checking in, everybody!

Art Taylor said...

Really enjoyed your post here, Rae! And like you, I feel the same way about looking back at my work... Can't stand to reread it, see all those mistakes, and sitting down at a new project, I'm filled with fear and trepidation. And yet.... And yet somehow we're making it work. Congrats on all your success and new books ahead!

Unknown said...

I guess you can't have thrill without fear, right? Thank you for visiting, Art -- it's always great to see your friendly face back on the blog :)