Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Perched on the cusp

Barbara here. In yesterday's post, Rick admirably summed up the successes of the Type M blog during the past year, and indeed since its inception nine years ago. Today I have the honour of posting the very last blog of 2014. On my next blog on January 14, I will talk about an exciting new venture I am starting in 2015, but as I perch on the cusp of that year, I want to take a final look at the lessons, thrills, and spills of 2014.

In addition to doing the usual book signings, readings, workshops, book clubs, and trips, 2014 found me scrambling to find time for four very different projects. It was a milestone year for the Inspector Green series. The Whisper of Legends was nominated for the 2014 Ottawa Book Award, to my knowledge the first time a crime novel has received that honour.  The German translation of the book, entitled Tote Spur, was also released in June, marking the first time (but with any luck perhaps not the last) that Inspector Green has appeared in Germany.

In the fall, the tenth book in the series, None So Blind, was released, garnering a record number of excellent reviews not only from major Canadian sources such as Quill and Quire, the Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, the National Post, and the London Free Press, but also from Booklist and Publisher's Weekly. Partly as a result of this, for the first time in my writing history, the book was sold out within six weeks of its release.

Before you all line up for the free round of drinks, please note; as a Canadian book from a Canadian publisher, this means that I can now replace the brakes on my Volkswagen Golf, not that I can take that dream trip around the world.

2014 also saw me going from first draft to final edits on the third book in my Cedric O'Toole Rapid Reads series, entitled The Night Thief. I am thrilled with the end product, and I am looking forward to its release this coming April. And rounding out this year of diverse projects, I also wrote a short story for nEverMore, an anthology of short stories inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe and edited by the intrepid and innovative duo, Caro Soles and Nancy Kilpatrick. My short story, entitled The Lighthouse is based on Poe's last, and possibly unfinished, short story of the same name, and it required me to get into the head of a naive 18 year-old Newfoundland boy during World War II. This anthology should prove to be a blood-curdling mix of murder, mystery, and menace.

At the same time as I was working on these three very different projects, I was devoting most of my writing time to researching and creating the first draft of a new novel, the details of which I will discuss further in the new year. It was a fresh, untravelled road for me - new issues, new characters, new setting - that stirred up lots of excitement, uncertainty, and angst. The journey, and the angst, continue. Angst is good, I tell myself. If I feel too comfortable, I am probably telling the same story I have told before.

But too much angst, not so good. Writers need time to ponder, to let the stories percolate and the characters ripen. We need time for friends and family, for the pursuit of other interests. While writing, I also spent three weeks on a research trip to Newfoundland, scheduling activities, interviews, and location scouting for the new book, as well as the short story. The day after I got home, I welcomed a new puppy into my home. Puppies need time and attention too. They are young, impressionable and adorable for such a short time, and I would be doing him no favours either by being too busy to enjoy him.

I'm relieved to say we all survived the year, but as I read the frenetic pace many of my fellow writers complain of, I realize perhaps we all need to slow down. Take the time to think and feel, to revel in experiences, to enjoy those diversions that can refresh our souls and enrich our creativity. That is my resolution for 2015. I hope my writing, and my sanity, will both benefit from it.

Time will tell. Meanwhile, here's to a new year of peace, happiness, and health for us all.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the beautiful message of your blog today. Stopping to smell the roses is easily forgotten in the careening pace of our crazy days. Your list of literary accomplishments is so impressive, and it's inspired me to work even harder in the new year on several projects I've been thinking about starting. I wish you and all the participants of Type M for Murder a happy, healthy, and peaceful new year.

Eileen Goudge said...

Congratulations on the accolades! I'm glad you mentioned the bit about slowing down. I've come to that conclusion myself. Actually, it wasn't so much my brain as my body that put on the brakes. Tendonitis in my arm and sciatica in my hip from all the hours sitting at my desk, specifically. The body always knows best. Wishing you a happy, healthy 2015!

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