Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Green Monster

Terry Shames here:

Our weekly question is, "What author are you jealous of?"

I had to look up the word “jealous” to make sure I knew what it meant, and to my surprise, it has a strong element of “resentful.” So I can say that I’m not really jealous of any author. I don’t resent what someone else has, but I may wish I had it, too! So I’ll proceed with the caveat that resentment isn’t part of the equation.

Author? As in singular? No. What I envy is a lot of authors for a lot of different reasons.

I am jealous of young authors who got published right out of the chute and have long careers ahead of them. It took me years of slogging through rejections before I finally hit on my series character and became a published writer. I have so many ideas for books, and time looms large in the equation.

Here are some specific authors I’m jealous of for specific reason:

Catriona McPherson for her sense of humor. My God, where does this woman get her comic patter? Her timing? Her sense of glee that grabs her readers?

 Okay, Cindy Sample and Heather Havens, you too!

Lou Berney because….well, The Long and Faraway Gone and November Road. Need I say more? One brilliant book following on the heels of another. If he wasn’t such a great guy, a person could be tempted to be resentful.

William Kent Krueger for so many reason that it’s stupid. His beautiful writing, and the fact that he’s so damn nice. I hope he has dark thoughts that he keeps to himself, otherwise he’s too good to be true. Plus, he has the nicest wife!

Timothy Hallinan. God, three series, all spectacular. I am jealous of the philosophical depth in his books. There are paragraphs in his books that I reread just for the pleasure of musing on the thoughts.

I am jealous of Rhys Bowen for suddenly stepping off the cliff and soaring with her two historical novels. She said her publishers were uncertain, but apparently she wasn’t. Oh, to have that courage along with the ability to follow through with the ideas and find herself in the spotlight afterwards:

In a more serious vein, I’m jealous of authors some of whose works I don’t particularly admire as well as those whose work I revere, who have somehow hit a chord and become famous. That doesn’t mean I wish they weren’t successful; It just means I wish I could find that magic formula as well.

The fact is, though, that I’m grateful for having found a good publisher and loyal fans. Having toiled in obscurity for many years, I appreciate every reader, every editor who makes my work better, every workshop I’ve attended that gave me the tools I needed to perfect my craft. I am grateful that I have the means to write without worrying about paying the rent. I’m grateful that I have ideas that I’m excited about. I’m thrilled to have an agent who is right by my side in my endeavors.

Being jealous doesn’t get the job done. What does get the job done is writing. Long, hard hours of writing, rewriting, editing, and reediting. The writers I’m “jealous” of work just as hard as I do—or maybe harder. So I don’t have anything but delight and admiration for their success. Well, maybe I’m slightly still jealous of Catriona’s sense of humor…and her hair. 

 Terry Shames
A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary, April 23, 2019


catriona said...

Well, hey! Thank you. I notice you don't envy my decorum in photos.

Terry said...

Oh, but I do! I just thought I should leave off the gushing.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks, Terry, A good post. I think getting inspired is a better bet than being jealous.

Terry said...

Me, too. I've read some books lately that should have made me jealous!