Ten manuscripts and four published books into my writing career, I still picture myself writing in a cozy attic room in a house perched on a high rocky cliff, overlooking a churning gray sea as gulls screech across the sky in the slanting rain.
I live in Utah, and while The Great Salt Lake is plenty salty, it's hardly a churning sea. Sometimes seagulls peck at garbage in my grocery store's parking lot. I write in my living room overlooking my bookshelves--and the occasional exercising neighbor.
At some point I saw a Barbara Cartland interview that inspired my early vision of an author's life, but my writing life is not nearly so glamorous. I live in a mostly messy house, mostly because I'd rather be reading than cleaning. I do have dogs. Cats. Tortoises (beguiling little salad eaters!).
Before actually sitting down to write novels, I figured that magic, if not glamour, would be involved. Not merely dogged persistence. And actually sitting down.
Often when people first meet me, and discover that I am a writer, I find myself bumping up against their dream of what comprises an author. Magic? Glamour? Mystery? And here I am looking so...so normal. Maybe even boring. That seems to be intimidating to people--as if there's something lurking unseen.
Yeah, I know, I think to myself, as I watch people try to figure out what to make of me. I thought I'd be glamorously penning books perched in an attic above the storming sea. Not like today, scribbling away at the Barnes and Noble cafe in a strip mall in a dull suburban town in Utah.
But that's the reality--and it works.