When I first started writing, I hardly dared to dream. I banged away on a semi-decrepit laptop in my attic apartment in New Haven, Connecticut (yes, really, an attic…servants’ quarters, actually; I kept looking with no success for the butler…), working on my debut novel, And Only to Deceive, with only the briefest someday-maybe-if-I’m-good-and-lucky-this-will-get-published thoughts.
I’d chosen the location for the novel carefully—wanted to use settings familiar to me. Places I’d actually been. I studied abroad in college, living in London, and that seemed an easy starting point. Two trips to Paris had cemented the city in my soul, and a recent visit to Greece had wholly seduced me. I was confident I could capture the essentials of each location.
But what next?
I’d joked for a long time that my writing career was a thinly veiled attempt to justify my travel plans, but I’d never really let myself believe that someday, just maybe, I could be an author and jet about the world on research trips. I kept those thoughts far from my brain, focusing instead on writing. It’s the best thing an aspiring author can do—nothing is more important than crafting the best books possible—while all the while pushing the bounds of what you can accomplish.
And you know? A really funny thing happened. All of a sudden (well, okay, not quite; a few years and a few books later), I found myself sitting on a ferry cruising up the Bosphorus to the Black Sea, watching the colors of Istanbul bounce from the shores of both Europe and Asia toward me. Somehow, through lots of hard work and more than a little magic, I’d made it: two weeks in Turkey, researching the next book in my series. The characters I created in that attic apartment are still with me. They’ve grown and deepened and developed a fondness for Turkish food, and I’ve no doubt I’ll drag them along for many more adventures.
I’m home now, more than a little worse for wear (I blame the two hour cab line in a snow storm at O’Hare for that), fairly confident that I’m never going to entirely regain my voice, but happier than I could have ever imagined. Dreams have a way of catching up with you—and I can’t wait to see what happens now that I’m no longer bent on keeping them at bay.
A Poisoned Season – Available Now
A Fatal Waltz – Coming May, 2008