A Fruitful Summer
As you may know, writing is only half my life. Well, half my professional life--the other half is taken up running a small business selling fruit (1).
Yes, I sell fruit for a living. I also write fantasy novels. Y'know, normal stuff.
For the most part, cherry and peach slinging consumes all my time (2), and what little remains is taken up with mundane aspects of living on the road like 'Where am I going to shower?' and 'Why is a bar the only food-serving establishment open after 8pm here?'. I get zero writing done, not even editing, not even rereading manuscripts. The kind of mental energy writing requires is totally zapped in convincing person after person to buy my highly perishable (and delicious) organic produce.
What I do get done is reading. Glorious hours of reading, laying in the sleeper cab of my semi or glazed-eyedly eating (another) burrito bowl or blasting down the interstate so consumed in my audiobook i forget my full bladder and empty gas tank.
This summer was no exception: I read Susan Dennard, Victor LaValle, Brian Staveley, David Gaughran, Jonathan Maberry, Robert J. Sawyer, a couple by Peter V. Brett, did a deep dive on Brent Weeks, and even got in some nonfiction in Tim Marshall and Steven Pinker.
Part of this is research. I can't write good fantasy if I'm not reading it, and there are so many great authors out there that catching up with the old school and keeping up with new debuts is a full time job (albeit a glorious one. Much better than fruit-selling).
The other part of reading is even better--the imagining. Every engaging character I read, every clever magic system, every surprising plot twist and well-crafted narrative spawns ideas for my own writing, because I'm always guessing ahead to what will happen, imagining the author's creative process, thinking how cool it would be if this or that character had a secret motive or the magic worked just slightly differently.
And thus my google notepad fills with ideas even as my trailer empties of produce. So while none of the project bars have gotten higher in the last three months, I can still say it was a fruitful summer (3), because I return to the writing desk armed with more new ideas than ever. And fates willing, the best of those will find their way into your hands.
(1) Free signed copy of my latest book to anyone who finds the stand! I love friendly faces on the road, and am always slinging fiction alongside fruit.
(2) On average, 11.5hrs/day, 6.5 days a week. Down from 14 hours for the first few years!
(3) This also despite my new truck literally blowing up while careening down a steep mountain pass carrying the most expensive and perishable fruit of the summer. On my birthday. But that's another story...
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