Saturday, February 22, 2020

15 - or 93 Dog -Years of Writing: An Author's Evolution ~by Renee George

February 2005, I submitted a novella to several publishers. I was collecting rejections at that point, and I fully expected to add more, nice but perfunctory thanks, but no thanks, letters to my collection. Two weeks later, I was offered my first book contract. That was fifteen years ago (that's ninety-three in dog years, which is how I count these days). I was thirty-six, working full time as a nurse while getting a second degree in English, my son had just turned ten, and I was caring for my dying father-in-law (he died in April 2005 when my first book was published), we moved from our home to take care of my mother-in-law, and then my own father died the next year in April, almost an exact year to the date. I was depressed and feeling like I had yoked myself.

In many ways, my writing in my thirties reflected my need to escape the stress of work, classes, and my first taste of being part of the sandwich generation (taking care of both a young child and an elderly parent). It was tantamount to domestic life escapism for me. I wrote about men and women with very few ties to family or community (because often I felt overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility I had to both, and it was a relief to leave them behind for a while, if only in story). The books were plot driven and heavy on the paranormal. Most of my characters were young, in their twenties, damaged but still hopeful, and still trying to figure out who they were--journeys of self-discovery.

In my forties, my stories were mostly about heroines in their thirties, usually going through some transition. They were a little more jaded, but still hopeful. They knew what they want and had a plan to get there. I also started migrating from romance into mysteries. In my personal life, for the first half of my forties, my son was graduating from high school, I gained a bit of weight, my mother-in-law's health was on a steady decline, and I was trying (but failing) to strike a balance between the all-consuming personal vs professional life. By my late forties, I had developed really strong female friendships, and they really played a part in advancing my heroine's growth. I can't tell you how many times I have felt rescued, uplifted, and supported by my BFFs. I also fell in love with animals again. I have two dogs, a beagle and pit bull, and two cats, a gray female and orange and white male, who I obsess over! Just check out my Instagram for proof that I stalk my animals. So, the dogs and cats started making it into my stories as well.

Now, I'm fifty-one. This past year I had a total hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy (basically I had uterus, tubes, and ovaries removed) in October 2019 (only three months ago!!), my mother-in-law passed away in December, and my son turned twenty-five years old. A quarter of a century! Writing it down makes me feel old. *laugh* But actually, I am emotionally in a good place. Something clicked after I turned fifty, and I am no longer searching for an identity. Even when a new crisis pops up, I'm calm, collected, and logical about how it should be handled. And once again, my writing is evolving into something that mirrors my life. 

I am currently writing the first book in a new cozy mystery series, the Nora Black Midlife Psychic Mysteries, with a heroine who is fifty-one years old, who recently moved back to her hometown, lost her mother to brain cancer, and has just recovered from a hysterectomy. She is starting a new business and a new life, and she's really comfortable with herself. But when her best friend's abusive ex is found dead at the scene of a fire, her BFF is the main suspect, and Nora, who has developed an interesting psychic side effect from dying during surgery, has to figure out who the killer is. Friendship is centric in this cozy psychic mystery, as it is in my real life.

And there you have my author evolution from 2005 to 2020 as a wife, a mother, a care giver, and finally, a woman over fifty but feeling like she is getting a second chance at another beginning (thank heavens for hormone replacement therapy. *laugh*).

Author Bio:

USA Today Bestselling Author, Renee George writes paranormal mysteries and romances because she loves all things whodunit, Otherworldly, and weird. Also, she wishes her pittie, the adorable Kona, could talk. Or at least be more like Scooby-Doo and help her unmask villains at the haunted house up the street.

When she’s not writing about mystery-solving werecougars or the adventures of a hapless psychic living among shapeshifters, she dons her superhero cape and rescues kittens. Okay, the kitten totally showed up one day and suddenly she’s got a new pet named Simon.

She lives in Missouri with her husband of 30 years and spends her non-writing time doing really cool stuff…like watching TV and cleaning up dog poop.

Check out Renee's books on her website and be sure to follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Bookbub.  You can also 'like' her page on Facebook and join her Reader Group, and to stay up on what's new, be sure to sign up for her Newsletter.

Listen to Renee George's podcast episode here.

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