Some Meandering Thoughts from Tess

Hi Fierce Friends!

I re-read this blog and found it to be, well, strange. But I’m sick with another stomach bug or perhaps poisoned tomatoes, so I will beg you, dear reader, to overlook the weirdness and leapfroginess (new word I invented) of today’s essay. Thanks.

The “down” time between writing romance novels is a very precarious time. I need time off before I get started again, to let the brain stop sending out electric shocks every five minutes, but there’s actually no such thing as “down” time. Why? Because I never stop writing in my head. It’s always whirring around up there, going over old ideas, playing around with new ones, bouncing around like a greased ping-pong ball. I keep a notebook by the bed to jot down any brilliant ideas I get. Now if I only could find a pen in the middle of the night.

Since I finished my new book for Berkley, Highland Rebel, I’ve been contemplating writing in a different genre in-between my time travel romances. Now, a different genre could, for me, mean anything from Science-Fiction to Fantasy to a different realm of Romance, because I’m interested in all of those genres. So that means dragging out anything and everything I’ve written for the last ten years and re-examining it, at the least to get new ideas from my old ones, at the most to actually use the original idea! Some of the ideas in my archives include several YA novels, a fantasy romance that I think could be great, especially now in this era of paranormal and supernatural-based characters, and a mainstream that I am so excited about I will probably start working on it soon.

Will I sell something out of the field I’ve been writing in for so long? Who knows? The fantasy romance has a real chance, because it’s still basically in the same genre—romance. But the others—well, the truth is, selling in another genre is like starting over again in the “biz” as we writer-types call it (no we don’t) and could mean writing under a different name.

When I was first getting serious about writing, when I was younger and much more idealistic, I had several pseudonyms planned for the variety of genres I planned to write. They were:

Romance: Tess Riley
Science-Fiction and Fantasy: T. Casler Mallory
Young Adult: T. C. Mallory

But when I actually sold my first novel and ran “Tess Riley” past my new agent, she said, “Oh, no! Tess Mallory is the perfect name for a romance author!” So I listened to her and lost my chance to be sort of anonymous in this crazy roller-coaster of a business. Am I sorry? Not really. I used to wish I had remained mysterious and “behind the scenes”, but then I realized that it would have never worked. When I attend conferences or writer’s meetings, I’m usually the first to talk and share who I am, where I’m from, etc., and so I would have become “Tess Riley” or whoever anyway, but still been me, and people would have gotten to know me just as much as if I had been Tess Mallory. And that’s okay. I like to meet people.

But I digress. Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, “down” time. There ain’t no downtime in writing is where I was going with this. Because writing is like a drug. Once you start, there’s no turning back, no cure, no rehab, no way out. You are a writer and that’s just the way it is.

Would I change that? Sometimes I think maybe I would. Writing becomes a tough taskmaster, and the rewards are hard-fought for and hard-won. But then when I get an email from a woman who is home-bound and lonely, and who was touched by something in one of my books, I think, Yeah, I’m a writer. And that’s okay.

Now, I’d better get back to that wonderful “down” time in which I will endeavor to stop my brain from whirling and actually relax and watch HGTV.

Hey—what if there was this woman who had a TV show about old houses and she went inside one, and went into the attic where she found a trunk, and in the trunk she found---

Okay, okay, where’s my notebook? Okay, now where’s a pen?

Sigh. ‘Til next time fierce friends, keep writing.



Nicole North said...

Wonderful post, Tess!! Enjoy your down time and recharge your mental batteries. :-) The trunk in the attic story would be a great one.

Lexi said...

Great post, Tess. And so true about the "down time"! Hope you feel better fast.

Natasha said...

Hope you're feeling better soon, Tess!

Tess said...

Thanks Sweet friends! I appreciate your comments and encouraging words!