The books are not a series—they’re 3 stand alone titles. The first book is slated to release May 2010 and is tentatively titled The Year of the Dog (they’ll probably change it). It’s a women’s contemporary novel. Here’s the back cover blurb from my proposal:
Tessa Ota, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year.
While moving ahead with renovation plans for her new dog kenneling and training facility, Tessa needs to move in with her disapproving mother and her antagonist sister. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irate engineer whose car she rammed a few weeks earlier.
Charles Bretton has enough problems. His mama has just shown up on his doorstep all the way from Louisiana, and his brother has to move in with him after being kicked out of his apartment—with a dog in tow. And guess who the dog’s owner is?
His brother’s slovenliness, Mama’s diabetic bouts with low blood sugar, and the dog’s bad behavior are all distracting Charles from his wedding plans with a woman whose family connections will help Charles in his career. But he can’t help being attracted to the dog trainer whose sunny smile masks her bitterness at hypocritical Christians, and he starts to wonder about his own professed faith.
Will Tessa’s disjointed family and Charles’s disruptive home prevent both of them from discovering what’s really important?
But my post today is not about my good news (although I hope you are all setting your calendars with a “buy Camy’s book” reminder in May of 2010!).
After I finished writing Single Sashimi in Fall of 2007, I asked my editor at Zondervan, “What do you want me to write next?”
She said, “I want a contemporary romance with a dog in it.”
Did I say, “No, I don’t want to write romance, I like writing chick lit.” or “No, I don’t feel like it”?
Of COURSE I’d write what she wanted. I’m not STUPID.
But here’s my point: Your muse is a myth. Get over it and write what you should write.
I am not saying to write to the trends, because they come and go too fast.
And I’m not saying to write what you don’t feel comfortable writing.
But I am saying that for writers to cling to their “muse” and what the “muse” is telling them to write is just plain dumb. And bad business practices.
There is no such thing as a muse. What there is are writers who target their energies toward writing good books. Period.
“You should write historicals.”
“You have a great historical voice.”
“No other historical writer writes that setting/time period.”
“Your historical books are better than your contemporaries.”
Are you going to listen to your “muse” who says that the “book of your heart” is a contemporary women’s fiction about your traumatic past, and only focus on that, or are you going to listen to peers and professionals who say you have a great historical voice?
Look at Ruthy. Tina dared her to write a non-women’s fiction novel, and it ended up winning the Tara contest.
Did Ruthy say, “No, I don’t write anything except Women’s Fiction”? Heck no. She said, “Sure, I take your dare,” and look what opportunities it opened for her!
The “book of my heart” is a fantasy epic novel hidden under my bed. Did I cling to my “muse” who said that fantasy is my favorite genre and I should only write it?
No. I wrote chick lit because I also like reading that. I wrote romantic suspense because I also like reading that. I stuck the “book of my heart” under my bed to play with the dust bunnies.
Bottom line: Be flexible. You will not survive in this business otherwise.
Contests are a great opportunity to experiment with different genres, different “brands” for yourself.
Be willing to try different things. Be willing to focus your energies on sound business decisions about what to write next.
Be willing to be willing.
Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her novel Single Sashimi is out now, and she runs the Story Sensei critique service. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for monthly giveways!