Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Writer's Life--No Stress, Long Contemplative Mornings?

My guest is para romance author Erin Kellison. She made me laugh with the idea of no stress and long contemplative mornings as her previous idea of a writer's life.

Funny too, because my writing group was also chatting about that very thing today. Perceptions others have of writers as having a smooth, low stress job. That is until they became pubbed. Then the truth smacks them upside the head with, "Oh you wish," as they take on normal life, kids, jobs, and writing deadlines.

But we'll let Erin tell you her tale...

Last week my stomach hurt bad enough to warrant a trip to the doctor. I had surgery for appendicitis the next day, and I lost a week to recovery (and the no-fun cough I picked up at the hospital). Sia has been lovely about me getting this blog to her late. Thank you, Sia, for your understanding and thank you for the invitation to post here as well. I am happy to donate a copy of both my summer 2010 releases, Shadow Bound and Shadow Fall, to one lucky commenter.

I sit in my writing chair, arms stretched beyond my ouchy belly to reach my laptop keyboard, and I have to laugh. I used to think that the life of a writer was one of long contemplative mornings, bringing a story to life on the page. Fact is, those mornings are rare. I’m sure the appendicitis is a once-in-a-lifetime event, but something else will happen shortly. And here I am supposed to be coming up with a proposal for my fourth book in my Shadow series (can’t wait, actually…ideas are simmering).

What’s the trick then? Because I know I’m not alone in this. My writing friends all seem to be juggling as fast and efficiently as they can, and all but one has had some major event scatter the balls. What’s the answer (after a good sense of humor, I mean)? Easy—it’s the stories.

While I was writing Shadow Fall, which released this month, my sister went through a health crisis, the kind that renders everything else trivial, the kind that makes you pick up the phone on the first ring. She’s doing well now, but there were some scary moments at the beginning. I flew out a couple times to help with her surgery and early chemo. (My job mostly consisted of fetching things, fielding calls, and getting her to laugh with my uneven repertoire of impersonations.) And in the midst of this, a deadline loomed. I’m fairly confident that had I asked for an extension, I could’ve received one. Once or twice, I contemplated it. But in moments both mundane and excruciating, stories are my refuge. Always have been.

See, I had this character in my head, Custo, who was dark, tortured, and a little bad. He was realized on the page during the first months of my sister’s treatment. I must have talked to her every day back then. Or more often. I beat Custo up, then kicked him when he was down, bloodied him badly for love, then finally threw him a bone. Custo is my sister’s favorite character. I still have the saved text and phone messages from when she finished the book. During its writing, I think a little bit of the real world followed me into Custo’s. Poor guy. (I’m sending big love out to my sis right now.)

The real problem when there’s a shakeup in day-to-day life is finding the time to do the necessary work of getting the story onto the page. Since those contemplative mornings are mostly a myth, I have to do what everyone else does: make time. More like, steal time, since there are a fixed number of minutes in a day. My husband has almost completely taken over the laundry (my hero). The kids’ clothes are mixed up on their shelves, something I’ll sort…negligently. It’s not happening at all while I recoup from surgery. Homework and hairdos are about all I’m good for. And in those stretches when I’m waiting for the Advil to kick in…I’ve got a story in my head. This time, a heroine who’s building a fire.
  • Readers: How do steal time to do what you really want to do?
  • Writers: How do you manage life and make time to write?
~ * ~ * ~

Custo Santovari accepted pain, blood, even death, to save his best friend. But a man with all his sins just isn't cut out to be an angel.

One moment he's fleeing Heaven; the next, he's waking up stark naked in Manhattan. In the middle of a war. Called there by a woman who's desperately afraid of the dark.


It gathers around Annabella as she performs, filled with fantastic images of another world, bringing both a golden hero and a nightmare lover.


He pursues her relentlessly, twisting her desires even as she gives herself to the man she loves. Because each of us has a wild side, and Annabella is about to unleash the beast. 

Erin Kellison is the author of the Shadow Series, which includes Shadow Bound and Shadow Fall. Stories have always been a central part of Erin Kellison's life. She attempted her first book in sixth grade, a dark fantasy adventure, and still has those early hand-written chapters. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English Language and Literature, and went on for a masters in Cultural Anthropology, focusing on oral storytelling. When she had children, nothing scared her anymore, so her focus shifted to writing fiction. She lives in Arizona with her two beautiful daughters and husband, and she will have a dog (breed undetermined) when her youngest turns five.

You can contact Erin though her website,, where you can also sign up to receive her newsletter.