With only hours left in 2012, I can safely call it a watershed year in my writing life.
I wrote two novels in this calendar year. EDWARD ADRIFT, which comes out April 9, was started on Dec. 28, 2011, and finished (at least in draft form) in February. This past fall, I wrote a smaller, more intimate, more literary novel I’m calling JULEP STREET. That’s in the hands of my agent now. My work appeared in foreign editions (French and German for THE SUMMER SON). My first novel, reborn almost three years after its release, went to No. 1 in the UK Amazon store. It was a very good year.
For the first time since I made a snap decision four years ago to see if I could write a novel, I feel like I’m moving toward something of permanence. Slowly, my work is finding an audience at the same time that I feel ready to write about the things I really want to examine–the ways in which we live, the follies and glories of our particular time, the fear that holds us back, the eternal struggle with what we’re to do with this one beautiful life we get live. Artists of all stripes have been diving headlong into those topics since the dawn of time. Maybe I don’t have anything to add. But maybe I do. In any case, I’m throwing in.
The first four years of my nascent career have been marked by ups and downs. The work was validated, almost from the start, by readers and critics and those who hand out awards, and while I’ve been grateful for that—how could I not be?—I’ve always known that the latter two groups have fickle tastes and that I would never please myself by trying to please them. The commercial arts are not always a good place for someone wracked by self-doubt; it’s left me to wonder sometimes why a book doesn’t sell better or get more support or get more acclaim, and every moment spent worrying about that is ultimately destructive to the enterprise. In 2013, I shall endeavor to keep my mind on my work, the one variable I can control.
I’m proud of the fact that I’ve never written a book that didn’t come from the heart, from pure intention, from the best part of me. I’ve never played an angle or made a calculation. I’ve written what I wanted, when I wanted. As long as I stick to that, I think I can accept the results of the labor.
Thanks for reading this. If you’ve read my work, thank you for that, too. You chose to spend some of your life on me. I’ll never take it for granted.