People ask me what this sculpture means. The truth is, I don’t know. I like pears and round doors. I made it because the idea popped into my head one day. Perhaps it is the secret home of a pixie.
Much to my surprise and delight, my newest novel, For You (written under my adult/romance name Mimi Strong) is a USA Today Bestseller.
I’ve had several author friends ask me how I feel. How do I feel? Cautiously excited.
I uploaded my first self-published novel on July 22, 2011. I had a tiny bit of publisher interest in Charlie, but nothing materialized. I’d been leery of self-publishing because a friend had self-produced an indie music album and I’d seen the heartbreak first-hand of trying to do everything yourself as an indie. The book didn’t sell many copies at first, but I was beyond delighted to get some reviews and have people read it.
In October 2011, I pulled my second novel from submissions and self-pubbed it. Publishing was not exactly easy, though. There were a lot of changes at Amazon, and changes in publishing, as well as in what genres were popular.
Then, one day in August 2012, another writer friend of mine said, “Tee hee, let’s write some Fifty Shades stuff and publish it for fun.” (I’m paraphrasing.)
I’d already written some romance and spicy scenes in one of my novels, so I’d gotten over the initial shyness about that, and I found it was quite fun and natural to write about Lexie Ross and her adventures.
Romance really isn’t that different, in structure and approach, from the contemporary middle-grade stories I started out writing. It’s character-driven, very emotional storytelling.
Now there’s this New Adult genre, too. Well! I’ve been writing New Adult since before it was cool! Practice Cake and Smart Mouth Waitress are both technically New Adult (the main character is 18), though not as spicy as my new books.
So, back to the original question. How do I feel? No, really. How do I really feel?
I feel great!
With For You, I knew I was putting out a book in a popular genre. I hoped it would catch on. But I have also had a peek or two at the bestseller lists, and I didn’t see myself on it. My writing is a bit quirky and humorous, plus I’m Canadian, which just makes me extra-weird. (I say bum instead of butt, and other things.)
For You was not an easy book to write. Some of the darker themes took a lot out of me to write. I think authors are a bit like method actors, in that we put ourselves through the emotions of the characters. It’s hard sometimes to just snap out of what we’re feeling when we’re writing a book, and just go about our day almost as if we’re totally regular people. (Ha ha.)
The fact that readers are connecting with this story has renewed my faith in writing from the heart, and writing the kind of books that feel personal to me.
So, the book will go up the chart, and it’ll go down. I’ll have to push aside all the heavy expectations and dream up new characters and stories, all over again.
I don’t have to keep writing so much as I get to keep writing. As a little kid who loved books, being a writer was too big a dream for me to have. I didn’t even dare imagine!
So, how do I really feel?
I get to dream up stories and tell them to you. That makes me feel great!