Give a big Playground welcome to Vicki and make her feel at home!
First of all, thank you for inviting me to play on your playground! This is very cool, especially on Friday the 13th, one of my favorite days. Especially now, because I just started paranormal, and . . . but I’m getting ahead of myself.
I learned at a creative writing seminar a few weeks ago that decision-making produces anxiety. That was a huge relief to me, because I’m a Libra, and I thought it was just me. Turns out it produces anxiety in everybody, even Leos.
It’s bad enough figuring out which toilet paper to buy or what to blog about, but what about big scary things like Career Decisions? Boy, if that doesn’t make you break out in a cold sweat, what will? I’m curious as to what makes other people change careers and if their reasons are more carefully considered than mine.
It would be nice to say I left newspaper reporting and came home to write books because I had a burning story to tell. But I did it because my kids were pre-teen and I decided it was time to start chaperoning their events. Turns out they didn’t want me to chaperone squat.
I’d already quit my job, though, so I had to sell a book because we needed the money. Luck was with me, and I sold to Harlequin Temptation. I wrote series books for Harlequin for a bunch of years. I don’t know if I consciously thought “hold off on the single title until the kids are on their own,” but that’s how it worked out. I guess waiting for a kid to come home when he was four hours past curfew produced enough anxiety for the time being.
But I must have run low on anxiety, because by the late nineties I was agent hunting so I could market a single title. Finding an agent produced enough anxiety to launch a space shuttle, but I finally chose somebody. And the agent wasn’t the right one for me. Honestly, it’s just like getting married and figuring out in the first year that you screwed up. I’d waited all that time to get an agent, and then I blew it.
So I got another agent, and this one sold Nerd in Shining Armor, which was a joyful event but produced more decision-making anxiety. Should I pester the agent about what’s going on? Should I pester the publisher? Should I hire a publicist and pester her? Should I go for Kelly Ripa’s book club and pester the network?
Thank God I answered yes to the last two questions, which saved my bacon when the book initially had a 20,000 print run. Then it became, after much pestering, a Reading with Ripa pick, and ended up with a 300,000 print run and a spot on the NYT.
More joy, of course. But more decisions and more anxiety. Should I stay with the publisher or not? I didn’t, which meant deciding who to go with next. Once that decision was made and the nerd series was truly launched, I thought I’d be set for awhile. No more big decisions.
Wrong. The nerd series has run its course, and I’ve changed publishers again. Also agents. Now I’m writing paranormal romantic comedy, and the first book of the series, Overhexed, comes out in October.
That’s a great month for a paranormal, and it’s also my birthday month, because, as I mentioned, I’m a Libra. And I would love to have this series run a really long time so I can stop with the anxiety-producing decisions for a while!
So tell me, how do you handle decision-making anxiety? Don’t bother suggesting margaritas. I know about that one.
Editorial Note from Smarty Pants: Thank you for coming today Vicki! We're honored to have you hanging around our playground. Vicki will be answering your questions today and one lucky commenter will win an autographed copy of one of her books! You can also check out Vicki's website at http://www.vickilewisthompson.com/.