The experience of writing a book can be life changing, or at least personality changing. Even if you say, I’m just writing for myself, you’ll never be the same. Writing will allow you to explore fears you would never tell your therapist, say things that would get most people slapped, and do things (through your characters) that would land you in a Columbian prison.
When it’s over, you may feel liberated of those thoughts that plagued you. You may feel embarrassed. Or possibly taller. Or you may feel strangely emboldened to send the most private workings of your mind to a stranger to be critiqued, evaluated, and ultimately rejected. Or–possibly more frightening–that stranger might say, let’s share your 300 pages of catharsis with the world.
Now, jump forward eighteen months. Your book is on shelves. You, who used to sit around the house in coffee-stained jammies with a laptop on your thighs, are standing in a bookstore in a knock-off designer dress, required to talk to . . . (gulp) . . . people. Not just the online kind of people, but the “in person” kind of people who show up at speaking engagements and book signings. And these people are allowed to ask you questions, like, “What is it about your childhood that led you to write about mythological creatures who talk to corpses?” And you say the first thing you think of: I was afraid, if I didn’t, the voices in my head would never shut up.
Instantly you realize that it was a mistake to leave your note cards in the car. You wonder if your tongue was always this thick. But you also remember why you’re here. You remember how much you love the art of story, and you realize that (even if these people think you might be a teensy bit crazy) they love stories as much as you do.
Since my debut LIES BENEATH came out in June, I’ve enjoyed signings with 200 attendees, and signings with as few as 10. I’ve visited a book club that meets on a boat in the middle of a Minnesota lake, and a YA book festival in Pennsylvania. No matter where I am, no matter how many people show, I’ve found a wonderful community of book lovers, reviewers, writers, and readers, and a world of which I am so thankful to be a part.
It all makes me want to . . . you know . . . do it again!
DEEP BETRAYAL, the 2nd book in Anne’s trilogy will be published by Delacorte in March 2013.