Monday, January 30, 2012

Forget the Freshmen Fifteen… what about the Author Eight?

By Amanda Flower

2011 was a whirlwind as my agent snagged two more cozy mystery series contracts for me. She asked me, “Are you sure you can do both?”

“Yes, yes, of course,” I said while thinking, OMG! How am I going to do this?

“Are you going to keep your library job?” She asked because in addition to being a mystery author, I am a fulltime college librarian.

“Yes. I have to. I get dental!”

“Okay. They are fast tracking the first series. The first book is due in eight weeks.”

Deep breath. “Sure, no problem. I can do it.” I mean how hard can it be? It was only 80,000 words, right? Right?!

Somehow, I turned the first book, A PLAIN DEATH, in on time. Sure, I looked a little crazed about the eyes and had given up brushing my hair on a regular basis, but the book was DONE. I felt on top of the world when I emailed it my editor. At least I felt that way until I stepped on my bathroom scale. I gained eight pounds. Eight! A pound for every week of writing.

During that eight week period, I spent every waking minute at work or writing. Before the new contracts, I exercised almost every day and gave it up in order to make my deadline. Also, I admit my eating habits deteriorated too. Some nights, I ate dry cereal straight from the box for dinner. I was tired, and opening the refrigerator door seemed like too much trouble.

While staring at that fear-inducing number on the scale, I realized I hadn’t read a book for fun in four months. Forget the weight gain; the loss of reading time had to change. Is life worth living without reading? I don’t think so. But how was I going to find the time to exercise and read with five more back to back deadlines looming over me?

While walking across campus one day, the solution hit me. The college fitness center! It’s free to college staff, and I could use the treadmill on my lunch hour and read ebooks on my Kindle.

I must confess I was nervous going to the fitness center the first time. What would the students think when they saw a librarian outside of her natural habitat? Wouldn’t it be like seeing a tiger in the middle of a suburban street?

You know what, they ignore me. They are too busy with their own quarter life crises to worry about mine.

I suppose the question is would I have signed both contracts had I known how hard it was going to be. The answer: absolutely yes in a heartbeat. I think all the Cozy Chicks will agree that we have the very best jobs as cozy mystery authors. Being able to do what I love is worth every extra pound on the scale.

Thank you to Heather and rest of the Cozy Chicks for letting me stop by!

~Amanda, who still sometimes eats cereal straight from the box for dinner

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Amanda Flower writes the India Hayes Mystery Series. The first novel in the series, MAID OF MURDER,was nominated for an Agatha Award. The sequel, MURDER IN A BASKET,releases February 8, 2012. A PLAIN DEATH,first in a new Amish mystery series, releases July 2012. To learn more visit Amanda online at http://www.amandaflower.com/. You can also follow Amanda at http://www.facebook.com/authoramandaflower and http://twitter.com/aflowerwriter.