Normally as an author I would keep certain struggles to myself, but I think you as my readers deserve to know why you won’t be seeing a book from me in the next few months. And that basically comes down to voices and choices.
In January I did start on a novel. It was going to have dragons and it was going to feature a central romance and everyone was going to love it. (Or so I hoped.)
The problem is, I had let outside voices into my creative process. I’d done it so I could write something more commercial. I love the Rider’s Revenge series and I’m happy I wrote it and it was what I wanted to write. But it isn’t a series that people see and immediately think, “Yes! I’ve been looking for more of that.”
So in an attempt to be more commercial and to write something where people would see the books and think that, I’d gone down the romance and dragons path. Now, there’s nothing wrong with either of those. I loved Anne McCaffrey’s dragonriders series. And I love Juliet Marillier’s books that always include some form of romance.
But I let in the other voices, too. The voices that are especially strong in fantasy right now. Voices about where you set a book and who you include or don’t include. And while I support the intent behind those voices –diversity and difference are good — it turns out I can’t write a novel that will please a million unhappy strangers.
So I let those voices in and I froze. I couldn’t move forward because every decision ran into someone who wasn’t going to like it. Or it ran into me not liking it. And who wants to spend two hundred hours writing a novel they don’t like?
I realized that to write my novels, I needed to block everyone else’s voice out except mine.
And I’m working on that. I’m on indefinite hiatus from Twitter where those voices are the loudest. And I’m giving my mind time to reset so I can write the story ideas that won’t go away. The stories that are MINE and mine alone.
Which means a delay in what I publish next as Alessandra Clarke.
Which is all to say, I expect you will get a novel from me this year. But it will be a little later than I’d wanted. And it may not be dragons and a central romance. (Although those covers would’ve been gorgeous…)
In the meantime, books I’ve enjoyed lately that you might as well include:
Wings of Fire by Tui Sutherland
Word by Word by Kory Stamper (that one’s non-fiction)
A Turn of Light by Julie Czerneda (skip the too detailed descriptions early on)
The Shifter by Janice Hardy
A couple of those are actually Middle Grade fantasy, but I liked them. I actually ordered the next book in all three of those series, I liked them that much.