Facing Your Fears as a Writer
It’s becoming increasingly challenging to one-up reality as a fiction writer. I’m trying to write about unimaginable situations, not front-page headlines, yet every day, I see the lines blurring. Halloween is today, but if you want to think about a real horror show, circle November 8th on your calendar and hope for the best. We’ve got a zombie mob of election deniers and Kremlin sympathizers oozing their way toward Washington, DC. Let’s hope good triumphs over evil. We need a HEA ending like nobody’s business.
Oh yes, Happy Halloween! A year ago, I asked you to try something that scared you, hoping it would push you out of your comfort zone. (Note to self: where did the year go?) Did it work? You don’t have to tell me, but please do DM me on Instagram or send me an email if you want to catch up. I have continued to challenge my comfort zone – sometimes unintentionally – my most recent task was moderating a panel of science fiction authors earlier this month as part of Litquake, San Francisco’s much-beloved month-long literary festival. Little known fact: I get nervous speaking in front of crowds.
“Evette, how is this possible? You host public meetings for hundreds of people for a living.” True. But there is something about work that makes it easier to muster the courage.
But I digress.
I was invited to speak at the “Welcome to the Mothership: A Night of Sci-Fi” with Charlie Anders, author of Victories Greater Than Death and Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak, and Annalee Newitz, author of Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age and Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction.
A fun evening was had by all as we read excerpts of our books – some of us by the light of an iPhone – on the patio of the Mothership, a bar on Mission Street just at the lip of Bernal Heights. The audience was enthusiastic, and somehow, as we got going and began to discuss why we write, I forgot 100 people were watching us. I sold most of my books, which later paid for my bar tab. Success! But I had to get out of my comfort zone to do it, which is something we all need to remember. Being a writer is about conquering fear. Novels are tricky beasts, unwieldy and unpredictable. We do our best to tame our prose and get it into fighting shape, but it’s not until the curtain is pulled back and readers have the story that you know for sure whether your creation will survive in the wild. I’ve been fortunate that 48 States has been well received since its publication in June. Here are a few more reviews for you to check out.
And stay tuned in December when we’ll be back with more exciting news and a fun holiday giveaway. For those of you waiting for the 3rd book in the Dark Horse Trilogy, I am set to start work on a second draft of the novel in a few weeks. I recently ran into a colleague who said, “It’s been three novels since I saw you; what do you have coming next?” That is music to a writer’s ears. I’m grateful you’ve all decided to join me on this journey. More soon…