Welcome, Barbara Early! This is Sherry, and I’m so excited about Barbara’s new Vintage Toyshop Mystery series! Thanks for joining us today!
Barbara: Now that I’m writing a series set in a vintage toyshop, I find myself using a lot of toy and game analogies. I was recently tasked with making a board game analogy to the writing business.
Now, I wish it were more like Candy Land, skipping from one sweet place to the next, until you arrive safely at the Candy Castle.
And although there’s a lot of being sent back to the start, the writing game doesn’t resemble Sorry. At least when those setbacks happen, it’s not usually caused by fellow writers, who tend to be a fairly supportive group.
Nor does it most resemble Monopoly, where one person gets rich and the rest go bankrupt. Although…
But the crazy ups and downs of the writing game, to me, most resemble…Chutes and Ladders.
I must confess, it was never my favorite game.
Oh, the ladders are okay. Exhilarating, even. Sometimes the writing life feels like you’re just slogging along, and all of a sudden, you get a big break: An agent asks for a partial. Or maybe offers representation. Or that first book deal. And you go climbing up the ladder, clicking your heels on every rung, so that everyone can hear you. You are on your way up!
I remember feeling that way when I got my first series deal—for the Bridal Bouquet Shop mysteries (written as Beverly Allen). After all those frustrating years of writing and rewriting and learning the craft, climbing those steps felt like the validation of all that effort. And it was followed by a few more ladders. Good reviews. Fan mail. They even put a label that said “national bestselling author” above my name on the bottom of the books.
And then the floor caved in, and down I went. See, for every ladder, there’s a chute. Theoretically, you know they can happen and probably will. But there’s little you can do to prepare yourself for the long ride down, and even less you can do to prevent it from happening. By the time my series was up for renewal, there were a lot of hushed whispers about market saturation and cutbacks. I wasn’t the only author left, sitting at the bottom of that long chute, wondering what, if anything, was coming next.
Sometimes you want to just flip over the board, send all the playing pieces flying, and walk away.
But since I’m an adult, at least according to my birth certificate, temper tantrums and dips into the pool of self-pity are rather frowned upon. And it’s nearly impossible for a writer to give up writing. Here’s a little fun advice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGUsRGuZb6k
So what do you do, Readers? You pick yourself up. Start something new. Redefine yourself, yet again?
And you never know. Maybe you’ll come across a ladder one more time.
Bio: The first book in Barbara Early’s Vintage Toyshop Mystery series, DEATH OF A TOY SOLDIER, released on October 11th. She also wrote the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (as Beverly Allen).
Barbara Early earned an engineering degree, but after four years of doing nothing but math, developed a sudden allergy to the subject and decided to choose another occupation. Before she settled on murdering fictional people,
she was a secretary, a school teacher, a pastor’s wife, and an amateur puppeteer. She and her husband live in her native Western New York State, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, classic movies and campy seventies
television, board games, and posting pictures of her four cats on Facebook. barbaraearly.com