Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Literary Life Continued: Writing Friendships

This is a continuation from the blog post from the other day. I think non-writers, or new writers, might erroneously think I hang out with ONLY authors of dark, edgy fiction. I may look down my nose at authors of chicklit, YA, picture books, or genre romance. That may be true of other authors; I don't know. But for me, as my literary life has evolved, that simply hasn't been the case.

Interestingly enough, I have author friends who write ALL DIFFERENT genres. Because guess what? Our struggles are pretty much the same. Getting a book done, finding an agent, selling a book, surviving the angst until the book hits the shelves, all of that. Getting stuck with a cover you hate, or learning your book will come out in trade paper when they promised you hardback. Or your agent taking too long to read your book, or a promised blurb not coming through. Hearing that your genre is oversaturated right now (which has happened to chicklit authors lately). Or whatever! This is the life of an author, and it is pretty similar whether you write chicklit, military thrillers, or haute literature.

There are authors to whom I owe a lot of my career who write in a different genre than myself. The aforementioned Becky Motew and Melanie Lynne Hauser, Elizabeth Graham, Jill Morrow, Karen Abbott, Danielle Schaaf, Elizabeth Letts, Carrie Kabak, Kristy Kiernan, Karen Dionne and Sara Gruen are published writers who, when we all started out, weren't even published. Time has gone on and NOW--all of them have books out (Elizabeth Graham and both of the Karens have coming out very soon). Some have multiple publications--Sara Gruen's latest, Water for Elephants was ever a bestseller, and she just made the most gigantic deal I ever heard of for her newest book, Ape House. I met all of these women online, and I have had the pleasure of meeting both Sara and Melanie in person. I hope to meet more of them someday!

What I want to emphasize is, these are all very different writers. They all explore a variety of different topics. Yet along the way, all of these wonderful women offered me a variety of support.

I'm just looking at the list now and I see several chicklit authors in the list, some authors of women's fiction, a pair of authors of nonfiction (one about nuns, the other about whores--no kidding), some of literary fiction, the author of a thriller, and some authors who write in a combination of these genres. Current author friends whom I see in person quite a bit include Cornelia Read (mysteries), Rebecca del Rio (poetry and literary fiction), and Diane Conway (nonfiction/inspirational).

Did I chose this lengthy list of women as author friends/support because of their genres? NO! Yet I would go to the mat for any of them. I don't really give a sweet damn if they write chicklit or cookbooks or erotica.

From providing critiques to standing in the cheering section, these authors have enriched my life in so many ways. Though I'm far from the perfect author friend, I hope I've been of service to them as well.