Back in 2004 I had an idea for a fantasy novel that would combine the lore of Celtic poets with the troubadours, and explore my own complex feelings about the drive to create. I was in my twenties, in college, and had always known I wanted to write.
But the thing about writing fiction is that life doesn’t bend to accommodate it. There is rent to pay, and that can mean eight hours a day of filing, Excel spreadsheets, commuting by subway. Later on, it can mean stringing together an income in freelance writing, and while that is far more interesting than the Excel spreadsheets, the pay is worse to nonexistent. So it might be late in the evening after work, or on a weekend, that you can try to focus your mind and find the words to bring your art into the world.
In the course of seven years, Last Song Before Night was completed. My first book. This was followed by Fire Dance, which came out this year. And this week I submitted the third and last book in the trilogy, The Poet King, to my editor at Tor.
And I keep thinking how this began, in 2004: the first chapter scrawled on a yellow legal pad during a lunch break in the Starbucks next to the Empire State Building. Before I went back to the Excel spreadsheets, answering phones, and a basement apartment at night.
You just never know. That’s the reason to hang in there.