Decades ago, when I was a lawyer, one of the name partners at the firm where I worked decided to become a novelist. I’ll call him John.
The New York Times had described him as one of the top ten trial lawyers in the U.S. To do trial work, you put your case on in the form of a persuasive story, so he had some relevant background.
He did, and the result was a best seller, the kind you see sold in airports, with a strand of pearls on the cover. It nearly put me off writing forever.
In John’s case, his debut bestseller was about a law firm killing its clients. (Ambivalent about that trial work, much?)
When I was twenty, my mother finally succeeded in her decades-long effort to drink herself to death, which I wrote about here. As a teen, I thought it was my job to figure out how to save her. (Spoiler alert: That’s not how alcoholism works.)
Now as a grownup, I mostly write stories about death and grief and love and whether it’s possible to save someone. I include lots of humor (I used to do stand-up comedy, so that comes easily), but they’re still hard stories to tell. Every time I finish writing one novel, I tell myself that the next book will be lighter and more fun.
Still, the next book is going to be much lighter and more fun. For real. It’ll involve, among other things, a dhampir—a girl who’s the daughter of a human mother and a vampire father—who has to fit in, in a human school, and also save her family from deadly other-worldly danger. And—oh—for good measure I’ll give her some trauma that’s a version of the worst thing that happened in my youth.
Yeah. That should be fun.