Four years ago today, I threw myself a party. It was to celebrate the release of my debut novel, A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder. I still couldn’t believe I’d finished writing it, let alone found an agent, and a publisher, and was at that moment in a book shop, Aunt Agatha’s Mystery Bookshop, to be exact, where copies of my book were on the shelf!
I’d done what other writers had preached—I wrote the book I wanted to read. It wasn’t easy but I loved the creative process and editing process, the plotting, the writing, the cutting! Then one day, I finished! I couldn’t think of another word to change or plot to twist. The thing must be done. Now what? I started letting other people read it. When they responded favorably, I looked for people who would actually critique it.
Finally, it got to a point where I either had to take the next step and send it out to agents, or just put it in a drawer and forget about it. It didn’t feel like a big risk to just send it out and see what kind of response I’d get. What I got was a few rejections, a lot of silence, then an offer! I couldn’t believe it! Somebody in the publishing business liked my book enough to believe she could sell it!
Then she sold it, and I totally freaked out! It was exciting, but it was also terrifying. The publisher wanted two more books in two years, and I would have to sign a contract. What if Etiquette and Murder was a fluke and I couldn’t do it again? Fortunately, by that time I had lots of writer friends and learned that this fear was so common, it had a name—Imposter Syndrome, the fear that sooner or later everyone would realize you had no idea what you were doing. Over the years, I’ve learned that it never quite goes away, but we learn to live with it.
With the encouragement of my husband and those friends, I went from sticking my toe in the water to diving in. It has been the most enjoyable and rewarding career I’ve ever had. (It could pay better, but nothing is perfect.) I love writing so much that when I turned in Mischief and Murder, the final book in that contract, and my agent asked if I wanted to try for another three books, it only took a moment to say, yes!
Just a few weeks ago, I turned in book six, the last book in my second contract and I’m delighted to say that thanks to you readers, I just signed on for another three books! I could not be happier to take you on three more adventures with Frances and George! And I think it’s fitting that the announcement came out on the anniversary of the release party for the book that started the series.