I suspect there are many aspiring writers who would love to be in my position, earning a living from writing fiction, with a series in development for television, travelling to exotic locations for research... it sounds wonderful. And, to be fair, for the most part it is a fabulous life. I've been very lucky.
Of course being a published author involves a great deal of hard work and can involve staying up far too late writing. I am permanently tired. Eugene Ionesco was absolutely right when he wrote, 'A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of writing or thinking about writing.' When we took a city break in Barcelona, I dragged my poor husband to three different police stations, in case I ever needed to include one in a book. In fact, since I began writing crime fiction, I haven't travelled anywhere without doing some research along the way. As a writer, you become a kind of gannet, storing away any snippets of information you come across. You never know when they might be useful. Research is one of the reasons I find my career so interesting. Some of my research has given me wonderful experiences, like my recent visit to the Seychelles, some has been quite horrific, but it has all been fascinating.
So how can there be a downside to all this excitement? Well, here I am again, waiting for my next book to be published. So what's the big deal? you might ask. I've been in this position before, many times. It's just another book, you might think. But it's so much more than that, because once again I'm sticking my head above the parapet, hoping I won't be shot down.
Whenever a new book comes out, I'm worried about how it will be received. I think every author feels the same. When you are writing a book it belongs to you, and you can do what you like with it. Once it's published, it is no longer the property of the author. It belongs to readers who can say whatever they like about it... and they may not like it. So far I've been lucky. I've had my fair share of positive reviews. But although Journey to Death will be my twelfth published book, it is my very first in a new series for a new publisher. As if that isn't enough to make me nervous, I'm aware that this new series differs from my existing Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson detective series.
Unlike Geraldine and Ian, my new protagonist, Lucy Hall, is not a police officer. Another difference is that she is in her early twenties at the start of the series. As happens every time I have a new book, I find myself wondering what on earth I'm doing. While I can't claim to be a 'big name', my books are quite well known in the field of crime fiction. Sometimes I wish I was completely unknown, and could just write for myself without worrying about how my next book would be received. But here I am, and as President Truman liked to say, 'If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.'
So here goes again. I shall gird my loins, pluck up my courage, and face the world smiling, if not fearless. Wish me luck! And if you're just starting out as a writer, don't stress about your future success. Enjoy your early anonymity as well as the success that may be waiting just around the corner. Whatever happens, you're going to have an exciting experience!
Links to all my books are on http://leighrussell.co.uk
and here's the link to Journey to Death on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Journey-Death-Lucy-Hall-Mystery/dp/1503951928/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=