I like variety, perhaps overmuch. In school, I pursued five wildly different fields. I’ve had many jobs and multiple careers. It’s the suddenlys and the unexpecteds in my life that have delivered my favorite memories. And it figures that when I had kids, I got boy-girl twins with only a birthdate in common.
Writing is the perfect job for me and the only work that has ever mattered. I had to stop writing for a couple decades to understand its importance, but I’ve learned my lesson and nowadays find myself writing with urgency rather than my former resistance. As a writer I can do what I want, pursue whichever topics I please, try something new each time. I’ve always had an abundance of interests and an abhorrence of routine. As one consequence, each of my novels has been quite different from the others.
My upcoming novel, Nica of Los Angeles, is the first in a fantasy detective series called FRAMES, and before I started it I had to make sure that I wanted to spend that much time with Nica. (I wouldn’t want to kill my lead halfway through, even though Game of Thrones has established that precedent.) Moving on to book two, I am not tired of Nica. On the contrary, she seems to have taken over. I’m her method actor and she’s my role. Here I am, in between volumes of FRAMES, yet she’s narrating this for me. If I can’t shake Nica, FRAMES could be a very long series. That’s okay. Hands down no contest FRAMES is the most fun I’ve had writing; I’m having a great time with it.
The ideas for my novels coalesce from collections of notions that don’t seem connected… until they do. I had always wanted to write a fantasy as I love to read them. One day I wondered what it might be like to be a track hurdle, and what tales the high school gym had to tell. Neither became characters in FRAMES but got me thinking about sentient and animate stuff, and multiple dimensions, and how thin our slice of reality is. Meanwhile I wanted to write a character that was innately cheerful in a noir world. And you can’t have noir without detectives, or anyway who wants to? …And at some point this added up to FRAMES:
When rookie private eye Nica takes on a mysterious case, she enters a world of multiple dimensions called Frames, where buildings and lawn chairs can be sentient, where a stray cat has great powers, where books can be killers, and clouds can be spies. At home, Nica tackles missing persons cases, while in the larger reality of the Frames she is swept into an escalating battle between good and evil.
Nica of Los Angeles, FRAMES #1, will soon be available for pre-order. I will also stage a number of giveaways to amass reviews. My blog will have details, and so will the Story-Reading Ape (who knows all, or is that, who is a know-all? Mmmm?).
A similar coalescence process with very different ideas led to Scar Jewelry, the literary fiction that got me writing again after twenty years’ hiatus. It took me three years to write Scar Jewelry – mostly just on Sunday mornings – and for a long time I was unsure that I would ever finish. It is an especially personal book, serious but with plenty of humor, and I am particularly proud of it. Scar Jewelry is set in the present and the early days of punk, with elements of mystery, psychology, family drama, and rites of passage across two generations.
In 1992, I published a psychological thriller involving split brain research, animal rights, and a love quadrangle. Was It a Rat I Saw started at a scientific symposium. Split brain research fascinated me – we have more than one mind in our heads! Wow! – so I attended a conference where researchers discussed their findings. I understood one word in 100, but I got the gist and at some point realized that a split brain patient who witnessed a murder could have a tough time revealing what he knew. I developed the idea and wrote the first three chapters, for which Bantam Doubleday Dell gave me an advance, then published the completed book in hardcover. Publishing was different back then.
After Rat I became the mother of twins and went back to school, so I found little time to write. Before I admitted that other priorities had won out, I wrote C.R.I.M.E. Science, a short novella about a quirky group of scientists who are detectives. I intended it to be the first in a series; however, telling myself I had time to write was different than actually having time to write. The series still awaits book two. I’ve got a second story and some new characters and I figure I will make #2 happen when I reach a pausing point in FRAMES.
My books are available on line in all the expected places. My blog, Required Writing , links to many of those places, and provides excerpts. My blog is the hub of my internet life and the place I post whatever I’m in the mood to post, which often includes photos like the eroded sea wall creature you see here.
I also send my blog to Tumblr . Very occasionally I’ll post other stuff on Tumblr, but my internet time and novel-writing time come out of the same pot of hours so I must be stingy with them.
I discuss writing, reading, and the publishing process in these author Interviews:
I’ve got a mostly dormant Facebook fan page, The Novels of Sue Perry.
I will likely take it for another spin when I release Nica of Los Angeles but the fan page format is so awkward, I predict my posting period will be brief.
Thanks for reading, and hope to meet you over at my blog!
P.S. If you owe some book a review, please find time to write it – especially if you liked the book! You probably have no idea how important your reviews are!
P.P.S. My son, while a student, made the book cover images you see here. Fingers crossed that he can muster the time to do FRAMES now that he has spun off to his own, astonishingly busy life.
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