Saturday, October 9, 2010

You mean Super Powers didn't come with the job?

By Guest Blogger Laura Alden

Back in the age of corded telephones, three television channels, and carburetors (read: in my youth), I used to think that authors had superpowers.

My young brain thought it must be better than magic to be someone who could make up people and places and things. And write about them in a book. Wow! An author who could write books that people laugh and cry over must be someone really special. Someone with those amazing powers of storytelling must have the perfect life.

This idea persisted for decades.

Then I started writing.

There were long years of learning the craft, long years of sending query letters to agents, even longer years of receiving nothing but rejection notices, or even worse, getting no answer at all.

For a while I figured my lack of superpowers was due to the fact that I wasn’t published. It was the published writers who had the superpowers. Yeah, that’s it.

I spent a few more years writing, rewriting, and writing some more. When I was on the edge of laying down my pen for good, an opportunity came my way and lo and behold, I’m now a published writer myself. Hooray!

But I’m still waiting for those special abilities. Hello? Deliverer of superpowers? Are you out there? Because I’m here, ready and willing to accept whatever you’d like to hand out.

And, um, do I get a choice? Pretty please, could you give me the power to make more hours in the day? Failing that, it sure would be nice to get those thoughts in my head into the computer much faster than 600 words an hour. And if neither of those work out, I wouldn’t mind the ability to recall what color hair my secondary characters have. Such a small thing, but it would help immensely.


Sadly, I’m getting resigned to the fact that no superpowers will cometh. No matter how many books I publish, no matter how many – or few – books I sell, it’ll just be me and my computer, whacking away at the keys as I try and craft a good story.

But that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Telling a great story. There’s nothing like having someone say she loved your book. Nothing. That connection to another human being through the printed word is all the magic I could ever want.

Just the other day I ran into an acquaintance who is a big mystery fan. I handed her a bookmark and told her where she could buy the book, if she was so inclined.

“Wow,” she said, eyes stretched wide, face open with amazement that she was talking to a real live superpowered author. “You wrote a book? That’s…that’s so cool!”

And you know what? It is. It really is.
Laura Alden lives in northern Michigan with her husband and two very strange cats. When she’s not writing her next book, she’s working at her day job, taking pictures for the local newspaper, reading, or doing some variety of skiing. She’s fond of long soaks in the tub, red raspberries, and blue skies. Her first mystery, MURDER AT THE PTA, was released in October and is the first in a new series. Please visit her web site.  And don't forget, Laura posts every 19th of the month on the Killer Characters blog.