Being an author is an odd thing. In many ways you are an author a long time before you actually become published and begin to sell books and make an income from your craft.
I decided I wanted to be an author in 9th grade and from that time on being an author had an impact and played a role in my life. Through high school, marriage, various evil day jobs, divorce, and a new marriage, I thought like an author. I did the things that authors do.
For a lot of years before I was published I read books on writing and devoured the top magazines on the subject. I went to workshops. I joined a critique group. I listened to audio tapes about how to write well. I gathered story ideas on index cards, napkins, scraps of paper, in notebooks, and occasionally on the backs of grocery store receipts. I wrote. And I wrote. I started things and I threw them away…
Eventually I finished a short story and sent it off to a publisher. The next year it was published and I was finally a published author. I had attained the goal of being published! I’d earned the right to call myself not just a writer…but an author!
Though I was excited to finally be published, that first experience with publication was a bit anti-climactic. I didn’t make a ton of money (less than three hundred dollars if memory serves) and it had taken a year for the manuscript to be accepted and published and to receive the three hundred dollars I was paid for it. Though I was published it still seemed like not much had changed.
I’d expected fireworks…money…or something. Not much had happened. I was in a bit of a funk and I didn’t write for a while.
But the desire to be an author is something ingrained. It was there in how I interpreted the things I read in the newspaper, in what I thought about the things I watched on television. It was there in the scene outside the window on a winter day or when I was traveling and my mind wandered to who might live in the big farmhouse on the hill in the distance and what might be going on in their lives…and what story could be written about that.
Authors ponder. They ask “how?” and “why?” and “what if?” They play with those pieces twisting them and turning them this way and that like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in a puzzle in which the picture is always changing. Though I wasn’t actively writing at that point I still had the mind of an author. My mind still wondered about the people that lived in houses we passed on our travels. I still thought about creating characters from people I read about in the newspaper or saw on television. I still found myself playing with various pieces adapted from life around me or that I saw on television, read about in newsgroups, or in books.
Because I wasn’t actively writing there was an almost painful tension born of all of the story ideas that were spinning in my head and going to waste. There was an author’s pleasure in playing with the story pieces…asking the story questions…and coming up with characters, conflicts, scenes, and worlds. But as the story ideas coalesced it became painful not to be writing them down – not to be creating the imaginary worlds in a way that could be shared. At that point the desire to write kicked in again.
At about the same time I discovered erotic romance. I’d been an avid reader of Harlequin and Silhouette romances for many years and though I enjoyed those lines and had once dreamed of writing romantic suspense for Silhouette the idea of combining the poignancy of traditional romance with the sexuality of erotic romance intrigued me much more. I began to think seriously about writing an erotic romance.
I pulled out ideas I’d carried around for years (originally tailored for sweeter romance) and combined them with newer ideas. I’d read a lot of Yahoo Groups, newsgroups, and other forums related to the lifestyle of dominance and submission. I’d been intrigued by the number of women from abusive backgrounds who found serenity in power exchange relationships. My author’s mind kicked in and wondered why and how that worked. So I created a character who had been badly abused and put her in a situation where she would be forced into a power exchange relationship. The result is His Perfect Submissive.
The way that being an author really impacts on my daily life isn’t so much in what I do. It’s in how I see all the things that go on in the world around me. It’s that my mind is always looking at situations, people, places, the books I read, the music I listen to, as fodder for a story. That goes on for me whether I am actively writing or not.