03 September 2009

Boucheron Guest Blogger #8 -- Rachel Brady

Please give a warm welcome to the 8th Bouchercon blogger, Rachel Brady. Today she's sharing about coming out from being a closet writer to being an author. For more info about Rachel you can check out her website or her blog.

Closet Writers: Not that there’s anything wrong with that, by Rachel Brady

I’m delighted to visit Word Nerd as part of Bethany’s Bouchercon Authors series. The upcoming Indianapolis event will be my first Bouchercon Convention and I’m wildly excited for the opportunity to go interact with so many other mystery-loving Word Nerds.

Another recent first for me was the release of Final Approach, my debut mystery. When Bethany and I exchanged ideas about this post, she suggested I might describe how I took the manuscript from idea, to draft, to publication. I nearly followed up with that, but then something interesting happened to change my mind. For those interested in the evolution of my book, you can read about the process in abbreviated form here. But today I’m curious to know whether there are any closet writers reading this?

I wrote in the closet for a very long time.

After reading mysteries for several years, it occurred to me that I never, ever, not a single time, figured out whodunit. This bothered me. How did the authors manage to trick me every time? I might simply have a slow wick, I knew, but it was easier on the ego to credit authors with a mastery of misdirection. I started to wonder if maybe I could do it too. I almost didn’t dare think it, and certainly never asked it aloud. But I decided to try. And I wrote in secret because I worried that telling people what I was doing would come across as either arrogant or pitiful. And worst of all, if I failed, everyone would know.

Before I signed the contract for Final Approach, only four people (outside my family and critique group) knew I’d been working on a book. Four! Even once it was assigned a cover and a release date, I remained tight-lipped. By then it felt like I’d been misleading the world. How do you tell somebody you see every day, who doesn’t even know that you like to write, that you have a new book out? I feared it would be perceived as a weird kind of betrayal. Spreading word about the book release in my personal sphere has been oddly uncomfortable although everyone has been totally supportive, excited, and encouraging in all ways I could have hoped and many I’d never imagined.

Another thing happened, the part that inspired the topic for this post. It seemed people everywhere began to confess to me that they, too, enjoy writing. Engineers and scientists at work, social friends, folks from the gym. What? We all write? And we’ve known each other how long and this hasn’t come up yet?

Why do we do this to ourselves? We write in a closet until it’s comfortable to peek out. For me it took publication. Looking back I find that borderline clinical. Certainly, few if any of the people I mentioned would have come forward to tell me about their secret writing lives had they not first known that I was guilty of this pleasure myself. This makes a girl wonder. It’s dark and lonely in the closet and now I ask myself why I stayed in there as long as I did.
So to the closet writers out there, I get you. I really do. Writers like us are scribbling in secret notebooks and opening hidden Word files everywhere. I hope that hearing this will make your private writing world a little bit brighter.

And if you’re a closet writer attending Bouchercon, let’s meet for drinks and talk shop. Your secret’s safe with me.


Sheila Deeth said...

Wish I could be there. I poke my head out of the closet from time to time, but it's a scary world out there.

Rachel Brady said...

Sheila, I feel your pain! Sorry to miss you at Bouchercon, but with luck our paths will cross at another conference soon.