Today is the day my fifteenth book is published. Fifteen! It doesn't seem possible. I am both grateful and excited, anxious and hopeful. I am, in fact, feeling all the same things I felt when my very first novel made its appearance.
The process of writing and publishing a book is a lot like the process of learning, rehearsing, and performing an opera: it takes an immense amount of time, energy, focus, and discipline. I'm not a fast writer--at best about five pages a day--so I know I have to be steady and consistent. I'm meticulous about research, which means piles of books all around me, books I return to again and again to try to get the details right. I'm a fairly organic writer (although I do plan these novels!) so that means I spend a lot of time pacing, pulling at my hair, or standing on my head to figure out what should come next. I fall in love with my characters, and then hate to leave them when the book is finished. And when the book comes out at last, usually two years after it's begun, it's very much like a performance--you've done your best to prepare, and now you wait to see what your audience will think.
The one thing I've never forgotten is how much I wanted all this, when I began writing my first stories and that first novel. It was the same for me as a singer; whether I was being paid a thousand dollars or a hundred dollars, I always remembered how much I had wanted to sing, from such an early age I can't remember that first longing. Remembering that, and appreciating the whole process, keeps me energized as an artist and as a professional. A day like today, the day the book is officially out, is the celebration of all those disparate elements. Happy pub day to The Brahms Deception--and to its author!