I was admonished by a reader on my Facebook page last week. She was upset that I hadn’t written the next Nicki book and told me that she hasn’t read my last few books and will not because she feels like I have abandoned the Nicki Sosebee series. I’m not sure if she said it meaning for it to come across as a punishment or a threat, but—either way—her tone came through loud and clear and I wanted to address her concerns, not just to her but, perhaps, to anyone else who has been silent but feels the same way.
First, let’s talk about ME and my writing process. I wrote the last Nicki book (Fake) because I felt like it was time and I felt the pressure from readers. The story did not feel fully developed in my head or heart, but I forced it out just the same, because I know—I get it!—that there are many of you out there eager and desperate to read Nicki’s story. I soooo get that, and I’m really sorry for the wait.
Let me assure you I have not abandoned Nicki. I love her and I love her story.
Let me tell you, though, that forcing myself to write something that’s not ready is like paddling upstream. It’s hard work, something regular writers will understand. It doesn’t flow like it should. It’s like the difference between an out-of-shape person digging a ditch and a well-rehearsed professional performing a ballroom dance. One is hot and sweaty and—even though it’ll get done—it’s been laborious and more time-consuming than it should have been, and it’s not nearly as elegant or efficient as it usually is. The other is a pleasure to watch from start to finish and feels effortless, seamless, and beautiful.
I get new ideas for books (both standalones and the series I’m already working on) all the time, and my brain churns them and percolates them until something seemingly magic happens and my subconscious announces to my conscious, “Hey! This book is ready!” Most times, I still have to wait to write it because I’m in the middle of writing something else. Also, most of the time, I know when a book is almost ready. And that would be the next Nicki book, Lies. Unfortunately for Ms. Sosebee, I am in the middle of writing three other books (Locked and Loaded, Boiling Point, and a book I’m tentatively titling Snapped), but she is next…because I think her next story will be fully percolated by the time I’m done with these three. And the best news is that this story will NOT feel forced. I actually already know the end of the series and several key scenes, but you want real stories, not just a few scenes slapped together with a little putty. You want real. You want Nicki…and you will get her, all in due time.
So…back to the Facebook post. It was pretty mean-spirited. First off, it was public. I don’t necessary have a huge issue with that, but I wasn’t sure about her motivation behind it. Secondly and more importantly, however, this is the first time I’ve heard (or remember hearing) from this reader during the interim. I haven’t seen this reader pop up from time to time, asking, “When’s the next Nicki book?” or telling me she’s desperate to read the next one. I haven’t gotten an email from her or a message begging for the next book. I have, however, had several other readers asking about different books.
If you want to know what I’m writing or want to tell me what you want to read from me next, I think the best way would be by using your manners, just like you would in any other situation. There’s nothing wrong with saying you’re disappointed in the fact that I haven’t written the next Nicki book. Hell, I’m bummed about that too. I wish I could understand the way my brain works—but I can’t, and I only know it’s best if I go with the flow. There’s also nothing wrong with telling me you really, really, REALLY want the next Nicki book, and there’s nothing bad about asking me frequently. Hell, you might even influence my weird brain, because you’ll be keeping Nicki on my radar and putting the pressure on. But trying to make me feel bad or ashamed? Well, if you know anything about the little rebel inside me, you’re actually influencing my brain to do the exact opposite of what you want it to do. So BE NICE.
Fortunately…my brain is already prepping Nicki, so no worries there, but really…what a bad fucking idea to call out an author in such a nasty way, especially this rebellious author…
That said, to all of my readers (even that one, because maybe she was just having a really bad day and took it out on me), peace and love and thanks for reading!
This is so not cool!!! No matter how badly readers want “the next book”, they don’t have the right to demand it. It’s a creative process. You can’t demand that an author produce the book because you want it. You’re very gracious Jade. I would’ve told her to…well… bite me!
Thanks, Teresa. The more that I thought about it, the more it upset me. But writing about it made me feel alllll better. 🙂
Wait…readers can’t demand a book? Isn’t that what Annie Wilkes did in Misery? 😉