Monday, April 6, 2020

Thoughts of a Sometimes Gloomy Writer in Isolation

Q: The next book you write will be published, under whatever name you choose (yours, or a nom de plume). What will you write? Why?

- from Susan

After talking about and around it for almost two years, I’m deep into a novel that I hope to send to my agent for her feedback in a month. I don’t want to say much about it, in part because I talked about it too much early on. Describing it verbally to enthusiastic colleagues was so much easier than sitting at the computer and actually doing the work. If I’m lucky enough to have my agent’s enthusiastic support, and if she sells it, then we’ll see if it comes out under my name or if, since it’s not in my regular genre, an editor demands a nom de plume. I’ve never had one – it would be kind of exciting. 

Victoria de la Rose? Rebecca Sunshine? Helena Darling? No, they all sound like romance writers or strippers.

S.C. Roberts? J.N. Anderson? P.Q. O’Ryan? No, a rather worn way to disguise it was written by a – gasp – woman.

I’d probably waste so much time trying to come up with a pen name that I could have written a sequel by then. 

[A couple of (supposedly) public domain illustrations of, oh, I don’t know, something vaguely exotic to suggest romance? I started a search for stripper images, but OMG.]

I am tempted to write another Dani O’Rourke because I know and like her and have been wondering what she, her colleagues in the museum world, her ex-husband, and current (if he still is) boyfriend are up to.  Or to visit Katherine and Michael in Burgundy. After all, he was beginning an American tour as the opening act for a huge rock band that he used to be part of (ouch) and she’s still wandering amiably around Reigny, sniffing for trouble and freshly based pain chocolat. Since I was in the neighborhood only a few months ago, taking pictures and storing up details, I could close my eyes and be there easily. But – and what a big “but” this is – I have no contracts for either of these series, quel dommage
Lots to think about during this time of self-isolation, some of it energizing, some less so. 

Who knows if the annual Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference will happen at the end of July? But if it does, I hope I’ll be refreshed by working with authors and with would-be authors building their post-pandemic successes, and maybe have something positive to say about my own next book(s). Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay home!


Paul D. Marks said...

Susan, personally I like Rebecca Sunshine and Helena Darling ;-) . Go for it.

Susan C Shea said...

Thanks, Paul. Me, not so much, but who knows what the all-poweerful market wants?