There’s a well-known adage in the writing world; once you’re onto a winning streak, you should continue in that mould, churn out best-seller after best-seller, as that’s what your public demands and what your publishers require, as they rub their hands together in glee and count the millions, be it in pounds or pence.
But what of the poor author? It’s a great feeling producing that first successful book, and it must be gratifying as story after story is built upon the foundation mould. But euphoria cannot last forever – can it?
We have at least two brilliant successes in our Crooked Cat’s cradle. I know, because I enjoy a good whodunnit and I have read every one of David Robinson’s and Catriona King’s series of novels. They are both excellent writers in their fields, but an excellent writer does not stagnate. True artists are always trying to perfect themselves with exploring new angles and meeting new challenges.
Trouble is, once the mould is set, it is a brave person who tries to break it. Both David and Catriona have made the attempt, and both have reverted, for the time being anyway, to the tried and tested. Patience is needed, and a gradual build-up of a different following, like starting all over again. That’s exhausting and one shies away. I’m about to know the feeling – sort of. I also know that their diversions have produced mature and well-written works, vastly different from the lighter “pot-boilers” they continue to produce with great success. I know because I have read them both and thoroughly appreciate the differences.
I can’t talk, really, because I’ve only produced one book so far – written entirely for myself as a catharsis. Its success (measured by my own expectations) has been gratifying. But after handing over BREATH OF AFRICA to the publisher, I deflated into a wet rag. I’d left an opening for a sequel but was drained of energy. Yet the habit of writing was upon me and I didn’t want to stop. I needed a complete change.
So, defying the odds, I pleased myself and wrote something entirely different, on a subject, which admittedly has been running around in my mind over the past fifty-odd years. Tentatively, I submitted the novella to my publishers – and you could have knocked me down with the proverbial feather…
I LIFT UP MY EYES will be launched next Tuesday, 7th October 2014. Don’t expect the stunning scenery and drama you found in Breath of Africa. This one is intimate and penetrating. It deals with loss – a situation faced by everyone at some point in their lives – but it incorporates a message of hope.
So – I have started two very different lines. Will they continue to develop, or will I begin yet another? I’m working on it and will let you know. For once a writer, always a writer…
My website: http://www.janebwye.com/