My 2014 in review: the writey stuff

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2014 has been a pretty good writing and publishing year for me. I published two novels, two novellas and a (very short) short this year which is a pretty good output for me given my work and family commitments.

The stories were:

  • Enlightened, the final novel in my Enlightenment trilogy (my most ambitious writing project to date)
  • Introducing Mr Winterbourne, a novella in the Another Place in Time charity anthology organised by Susan Lee
  • The Dream Alchemist, my first, um, paranormal-y novel (I struggle to label this story – it doesn’t *feel* like paranormal or fantasy to me, but something else)
  • Rest and Be Thankful, a contemporary set novella in the Comfort & Joy Christmas anthology organised by Josh Lanyon
  • Seasons Pass, a very short story in the Enlightenment series. Although this is only 5k, it’s one of my favourite things I wrote this year

In terms of next year’s output, I have notebooks full of ideas for future projects – some of those are stories I’m desperate to write and others are stories I’m interested in more for the challenge they pose.

When I think about it, pretty much everything I’ve published has had something in it that’s been some kind of challenge. My first book featured a woman masquerading as a man – I began writing that book after reading a few blogs that talked about this being a trope readers struggled with because they found it difficult to believe a woman could successfully pass as a man. My second book featured that most loathed of romance characters, the philandering husband (I genuinely love the hero of that book but he’s been roundly despised by many readers). With the first book of the Enlightenment series, I wrote a romance with no HEA or even an HFN and that really bothered some readers (but I genuinely felt it had to be that way) and across the broader arc of all three Enlightenment books, I set myself the challenge of creating an ultimate HEA for two Regency men that readers could really believe in and have the same sense of pay off as from a het historical. With my more recent stories – The Dream Alchemist and Rest and Be Thankful – the challenge has been in the change of genre. I’ve discovered that paranormal and contemporary genres present vastly different challenges than historical… and that no genre is easy…

In terms of what I’m writing right now, I’m in the luxurious (I think) position of writing something that is both a real book of my heart and a new challenge. This is Captain Iain Sinclair’s book. Readers of Seasons Pass will have briefly met Iain and his love interest, James Hart. James and Iain have known each a long time so I’m trying to tell their story in two interwoven narrative strands – the ‘present’ strand (1824) and a second strand which shows how their relationship has developed between 1808 and 1824. This is not an easy way to write a story, but it gives me lots of opportunities to set up satisfying emotional pay offs – if I can get the tension and the pace if it right (I’m a firm believer that so much in romance is about pace and timing). That novel will come out late 2015.

Enough of 2015 though, what else happened in 2014?

Well, I was nominated in Dabwaha which was very cool, though I went out after round 2 (albeit respectably, to the eventual winner, Captive Prince 2). Oh, and I attended my first conference, the UK GLBT Fiction Meet in Bristol where I met some fabulous people, such as Susan Lee, K J Charles,  Sam Higson, Liz Whinder, Helena Justina,  Rachel Maybury, Clare London, Jo Myles, Elin Gregory, Johanna Ollila, Jordan Castillo Price, LA Witt, Aleksander Voinov, Charlie Cochrane, Calathea, Jay Northcote – the list goes on! It was a great meet and I hope to be at the next one in September next year, all going well.

I loved doing my two anthologies. It was a thrill to see my stories published with other writers I highly rate. In both cases, I felt very much like the ‘junior partner’ in the line up (which felt quite a luxurious place to be in all honesty). Hopefully, these anthologies have introduced my stories to a few new readers.

Another new-to-me for 2014 has been self publishing, which I dipped a toe into the water of with the Comfort & Joy anthology. Having had my hand comprehensively (and generously) held through that process, I plan at least one self pubbing venture in 2015. I have to say, I love working with my publishers, Samhain, but I would like to put something out before the Iain and James book, hopefully around summer time and self pubbing is the best way to achieve that, given the timetable I’m working with.

Is there anything you’d particularly like to see from me? Genre? Characters? Tropes?

 

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “My 2014 in review: the writey stuff

  1. helenajust

    I can’t answer the question in the positive, because I’ve enjoyed everything you’ve written with one exception (see next sentence). The negative (and I know it’s too personal to me to guide you) is to hope that you don’t write paranormal or fantasy or whatever it’s called, just because I can’t read it and it means you have spent that time on it rather than on something I do like! You started with my favourite trope (woman masquerading as a man), and you write my favourite genre (m/m), so I’m happy. I prefer historical, but I’m easy.

    It’s been fun seeing you experiment with different things. I only knew that they were new because you said so, because one couldn’t guess it from the assured end product. I think that your trilogy was a real triumph, partly because it was a genuine trilogy in that the story arc was over three books, and also because I could believe in the HEA.

    It was great fun meeting you, and I look forward to seeing you next year! Thank you for some lovely reading this past year, and I hope that you do decide to self-publish because I want to read something by you sooner rather than later.

    • Thank you HJ! Meeting you in Bristol was lovely and my only regret is that I missed your panel. Historical remains my first love at this time and I came to miss it when I was writing in the other genres so I think that will continue to claim most of my writing time for the forseeable future. And I don’t rule out a return to MF at some stage.

  2. susana

    I think you’ve done a wonderful job this year, Joanna. I’ve read all you’ve published in 2014 and loved every single story. I’m really looking forward to reading Captain Sinclair story. A request? could we get a glimpse at how Murdo and David are doing? A coda? Or sneak a peek at Ian’s book? I miss those two! 😉

  3. Ami

    It looks like it has been a great year for you Joanna. I loved almost all of the books that you have released — except for one, “The Dream Alchemist” not because it isn’t my genre, but I just can’t get into the story. But I thought it was great of you to try and embraced genre. Heck, you even did well with contemporary (the one from Comfort and Joy).

    Here’s to another great year ahead. And yes, if you want to self-published, go ahead. I’m sure many people will support you, your fellow authors who have done the same road — and for us readers, that mean we can get to your books even sooner. Win win.

  4. Viv

    I love Historicals and I don’t think there is enough of it in m/m genre. Your Enlightenment series is one of my favorites of all time. I just re read them and I think they were perfect. I may not have said that if I had to wait, but they were all out by time I read them so I read them back to back. I also loved the story based on Murdo’s point of view and his reasons for returning to Scotland. I will really be looking forward to the Captain’s story. If we can get little glimpses into David and Murdo’s HEA that is even better.

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