Just when I thought I had left the world of non-fiction writing behind; just when I am up to my eyeballs editing "Murder After Midnight" and having a jolly old time of it, and just when I have pulled out the tattered screenplay for "A Good Plague," and decided to start chipping away at it again, reality had the nerve to intervene.
Got an email from Wiley Publishing yesterday about a new medical series they're considering, and would I be interested in authoring one or more of the titles? Well, um, heck, yeah! Twist my other arm.
Still, it's a bit of a cold shower on the euphoria I've been feeling since I plunged into the world of mysteries and thrillers. It's been my preferred genre as a reader all my life, so I figured if I as ever going to make the transition from non-fiction to fiction writer, that' where I should start.
Has any other author on this board ever had trouble with an agent telling them just to stick with what they're doing? My former agent wouldn't even look at my fiction; just told me to keep cranking out medical books. It was not a bad thing, mind you, but neither was it particularly soul-satisfying, especially with books like the Dummies and Idiots guides which are so tightly formulated. Anyway, we parted amicably so I could pursue a career as a novelist. I am currently without representation and feeling okay about that. I've got enough experience that I don't automatically cringe at the thought of dealing with a publisher one-on-one.
It seems like if you write fiction, publishers don't want you dabbling in non-fiction and vice-versa. I cannot tell you how many agents I interviewed at conferences on the topic, and to a man and woman they had the same advice: don't change ponies. But to my way of thinking, that advice precludes the idea that an author can grow and evolve, and segue from one field of interest and specialty to another. Staying in the exact same arena for 20 plus years is a perfect recipe for staleness and boredom. I could probably write a Dummies Guide blindfolded and with my hands tied behind my back, and it would be workmanlike and serviceable. But would it ever satisfy my demanding Inner Muse? Probably not.
Anyway, I am not complaining. Always happy to hear a check may show up in my mailbox at some point in the future.