Rhys on a very busy Wednesday. I'm off to England in a week and I have so many things to do in connection with the launch of A Royal Pain as soon as I return. And I'm due to speak at the University of San Francisco at noon. I'm always a little apprehensive when I speak in an academic setting. I'm scared this audience will ask about my characters' motivation and what Evan's Guinness is a symbol of. When of course I've never thought of a character's motivation in my life. I just visit my characters and watch them interact. And as for images... I guess I'm not Hemmingway. I just set out to tell a good story.
And I do sympathize with Carola and her two weird signings. We've all been through them. They are part of the self inflicted hell through which we writers put ourselves. With every book we open ourselves up to criticism. We put part of our souls into each of our books. They become our children, and it really hurts when a reviewer slams us. And not content with that stake in our hearts, we travel around to book signings and put ourselves through more torture as we speak to an audience of one earnest old woman who has come in out of the rain...not to mention store cats, store pigs, tables in shopping malls, nudist colonies and other trials.
Of course actors and musicians have it worse than us. But most other professions are not judged on a regular basis. A teacher doesn't have someone standing in the back of the room at all times, saying, "Today's math lesson was not as good as yesterdays and by the way, the teacher down the hall does it better." Nor does a surgeon have someone standing there saying, "that cut was a little sloppy and your stitching isn't as neat as Dr. x's." If they had to put up with this, they'd probably quit.
And yet every word we write is examined and either praised or criticized. I am currently in pre-book jitters. My new Royal Spyness book comes out July 1st. (A Royal Pain, Berkley Prime Crime) I'll be speaking at 27 bookstores during the month of July. The initial print run is almost fifty percent bigger than Her Royal Spyness. I should be ecstatic, but now I'm worrying that I'll do all those signings and nobody will come and the book won't sell. It's all part of the writer's angst, I guess.
Ah yes, to be a writer is to put one's self through hell. Maybe we just work better under stress.
(about to cut off an ear)