Having a long career as a writer is tough. There are technological disrupters (hello Internet and Kindle), changes in taste, and the advent of self-promotion. These days almost every book author needs some kind of social media presence. How exhausting. We are told that social media really doesn’t sell books, but if we don’t have a presence, no one knows that we or our books, especially the new ones, exist. So how to balance it all? And I’m not talking time here, but more psychic or spiritual aspects. If you are a person of faith–and that’s practically any religious practice, we are to be humble. How can we be humble if we are constantly saying, “Look at me. Ain’t I wonderful?” I struggle with this and question my motivations from time to time. I guess it would be helpful if I took inventory of my posts from the last year and reflected on the place they came from. But to tell you the truth, I’m scared to do that and really see who I am. Maybe that should be an annual event for all of us like the Jewish Day of Atonement. For us to peruse our social media activity and reflect where we’ve gone off the rails. You might be like me and not want to look at yourself too closely. These days I’m happy when someone tells me that they have a picture of me but it’s a little out of focus.
While hopefully continuing my new Leilani Santiago mystery series set in Kaua’i, I want to concurrently work on historical mystery standalones. Why historical fiction? Well, I have a passion for it and have worked on several history nonfiction books. And I’m getting older–which is not a liability and maybe even beneficial when writing historicals. I just completed reading two historicals set in a world that I know very well. One was a biography and another a novel. Both were very well researched, but the scholarship sucked the life of the narrative. It seemed to defeat the purpose of writing about the subject matter in the first place. It made me think of what I could contribute to the subgenre. I’m not the type of writer who can provide lavish description of physical objects and places, one of the characteristics of historicals. But I can get into people’s heads. I can write about emotions. So I’m going to lean on my strengths. And with a mystery, my protagonist will have agency not hampered by history. I’m not sure if I can pull it off. I’ve failed before. But the fact that I’m excited to try is a good sign.