by Julie, still summering in Somerville and keeping on eye on the weather
I am delighted to welcome Linda L. Richards to the blog today. Linda is a multi-published author who I met through the Sisters in Crime board, where she serves as the Grant Liaison. I’m delighted she agreed to join us on the Wickeds.
Making Choices: Maybe Just Duck
Recently someone asked me about the career path I followed to get to the place where I am. This person was exploring possibilities for career change. He had a job that did not fulfill him, but that enriched him in other ways: good money, benefits, retirement possibilities after what currently seemed like an endless investment of years. And he figured he had a book inside him. So how to get it out?
So what path had I taken? I sat and looked at the words for full minutes before I could formulate anything that resembled an answer.
It took me a while to realize: there had been no path. “Path” suggests something sane and sensible. Something well schemed. My life hasn’t been like that. My life is precarious. It has always been. You take this particular path because you have stories to tell that will make you bleed if they go untold. They reverberate so starkly inside you that you need to do whatever you have to to get them out. That’s not a way of being that describes anything as sane as a “path.” More like a force that pushes and/or guides you.
So paths: the best most sensible path for someone to take if they already have a job that they perhaps do not love but that pays is simply to get up earlier. Don’t do less, do more. Writing doesn’t need to be one or the other. But it can be the salve that makes the rest of it work.
I didn’t explain that well. I’ll try again.
I have heard from many, many people that they wrote their first book while doing a job that did not please them. They carved an extra hour from their day and used it to write their first book. After their writing time, they would go to their job where they’d be able to use some of their workday ruminating on what they’d written and what they would write next, moving the book forward in that way.
That would be a sensible path for someone considering change. But is it the correct one? I don’t think there is a correct path for someone wanting to be a writer. And no clearcut one. The journey is always deeply personal and dictated by your own needs and desires and — yes — gifts and talents.
So my own ragged path looks something like this:
In the first place, one should be writing because one has to. One continues to work if there are bills to pay. One meets with disaster if they don’t take that into consideration. (I did some of that early on.) And if one wakes up one morning and the money from the writing is equal to or greater than the bills, one quits the job.
That is the sensible course. But is it the right course? Maybe one day you’ll let me know.
About the Author
Linda L. Richards is the award-winning author of over a dozen books and a national board member of Sisters in Crime. The founder and publisher of January Magazine and a contributing editor to the crime fiction blog The Rap Sheet, Richards is best known for her strong female protagonists in the thriller genre. Richards is from Vancouver, Canada and currently makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona. Her latest book, DEAD WEST, was published by Oceanview Publishing September 5, 2023. Linda’s 2021 novel, ENDINGS, was recently optioned by a major studio for series production. Richards is an accomplished horsewoman and an avid tennis player. Website: http://lindalrichards.com/
About Dead West
Rule #1 of being a hired killer: never get to know your target . . . and definitely don’t fall in love with them
Taking lives has taken its toll. Her moral justifications have faltered. Do any of the people she has killed—some of them heinous, but all of them human—deserve to die?
Her next target is Cameron Walker, a rancher in Arizona. When she arrives at his remote desert estate to carry out her orders, she discovers that he is a kind and beautiful man. After a lengthy tour of the ranch, not only has she not killed him—she’s wondering who might want him dead.
She procrastinates, instead growing closer to Cameron. She learns that he’s passionate about wild horses and has been fighting a losing political battle to save mustangs that live on protected land near his ranch—he’s even received death threats from his opponents.
Suddenly, she’s faced with protecting the man she was sent to kill, encountering kidnappers, murderers, horse thieves, and even human traffickers along the way. Can she figure out who has hired her before they take matters into their own hands?