- by Vonna Harper
I write to the market, always have. When I first became serious about making a living as a writer, I took a careful look at what was being published and decided I had it in me to do servicable category romance. Part of my success was being in the right place at the right time, but also category was my comfort zone. Although it wasn’t my first love when it came to pleasure reading, I came to understand it. I could access characters, emotions, and plot that fit.
When, for a lot of reasons, that ride came to an end, I took my then agent’s advice and took a look at historicals. My first sales were decidedly romantic in tone, but as the historical landscape spoke to me more and more, my books became mainstream and I loved it–even the extensive and sometimes frustratingly incomplete research. (Try writing about an extinct Native American tribe or what was written by whites and you’ll know what I’m talking about.)
Eventually that ride too ended, leaving me adrift until I latched onto erotica for the pig simple reason that it was selling well. It still is, and I’m still there.
But there’s something else inside of me, a corner of my creativity that recently insisted on cutting loose. The exciting and scary thing is, for the first time, I’m not seeing a viable market for something I’ve written. Maybe its out there. Maybe I just haven’t researched enough to find it.
But while I was writing Whiteout it didn’t matter. I had only a vague idea where I was heading and had no idea it wouldn’t end until I’m put 80k words in it, but I loved every moment of the journey. There was no writing to market, no comparing Whiteout to the competition, nothing except me and my characters, my plot, the grand adventure.
I threw it at an epublisher. They bought, then went out of business. I threw it at another epublisher. They bit but it was a fish out of water and neither they or I knew how to market it so I got back the rights.
Last week I read it over again. The excitement returned. The page turning quality which is a rarity because I usually have on my editor’s hat when I’m reading my work. I loved the way I put the words together, my less than perfect characters, the twists, the death on a cabin floor
Most of all I loved emersing myself in man against nature. Survival of the survivable.
And now its sitting on another slush pile. Maybe Whiteout will never find the audience I hope is out there but I’m happier for having written it. So is the inner beast.