Monday, October 10, 2011

Revisiting the Vault

I'm working on a new Flowers of Camelot book--Gardenia. In the interest of smooth continuity in the series, I'm rereading the other Flower books (Chrysanthemum, Honeysuckle, Daffodil, Magnolia and Larkspur.) Like so many other authors, I rarely read my own work once it's published. It's hard enough keeping up with my to-be-read pile of other authors' books.

I'm rethinking that, though.

For months I've been in a funk, sinking in a morass of family emergencies, poor financial future prospects, and just plain discouragement about my writing. My fellow writers have been quick to support and encourage me, but that just didn't seem to provide the kickstart I needed.

Then I went to RomantiCon. For three days I wandered around, talking to fellow writers and editors. I won an award for one of my other series. I commiserated with other writers who are also sinking in their personal swamps of despair. I was both disheartened and encouraged when I realized I wasn't the only one struggling.

On the way home--an eight hour drive--I had plenty of time to mull things over. It was during that drive that the ideas came to me for two new Flower books (Gardenia and Azalea.) On Wednesday last week I started Gardenia. And immediately came to the conclusion I needed to reread the series as a refresher.

It's been an illuminating experience. There were many details I'd forgotten, of course. I have a note sheet full of scrawled bits and pieces I'll need to add to my new story.
But more importantly, I discovered something about myself.  

I can write.

Oh, there are things I would change if I was writing the stories now. Technical issues. I used the word that a lot. And in noticing the word, it occurred to me I've learned and changed in the five years since I wrote Chrysanthemum. But notwithstanding my growth, even back then I was a writer.

Due to some scheduling issues, Chrysanthemum was my first book published, though it was the fourth book I actually wrote. By the time Chrys came along, I was desperately in need of a mental break. And I was unwittingly wise enough to seize it when it came along.

Chrysanthemum and the other Flowers are pure insane fluff. That's what I needed at that time in my writing life. A while back I was critiquing a book for a fellow author. One of the things I noted was that the book seemed a little "light and fluffy" compared to her previous books. I believe I hurt her feelings though that was not my intent at all.

She wrote back that life was rough for her at that point (and it definitely was) and conceded she needed to write something light and fluffy. She needed that to help her get through the hard times she was dealing with.

I owe her an apology. I didn't realize until now just how much I need something light and fluffy. And I totally understand now that light and fluffy doesn't mean poorly written or shoddy workmanship. Actually, it's harder to write something light than write something deep and thoughtful--at least for me.

So I'm ready to plunge in to the adventures of Gardenia and her twin sister, Azalea. For those familiar with the Flowers series, they are Honeysuckle's daughters...with all that implies. And a certain zest has seized my writing spirit in anticipation.



  1. Good for you, Anny. That's great that the flower series lives on. Like any other genre, light and fluffy can equate with damn fine writing.