The Writer's Life - You don't have to live it alone

By Alison Bruce

It's common wisdom that writing is a solitary profession. It ain't necessarily so. In fact, if you're going to have any success as a writer, it can't be so. There are several reasons for this.
  • If you want to write realistic characters, you have interact with real people.
  • If you want learn the business of your craft, nothing beats networking with other writers. Networking with agents, editors, publishers and publicists doesn't hurt either.
  • If you don't want to go crazy, you need other people to talk to besides your characters.

There's nothing quite like connecting with a fellow author... even if you never meet in person. Case in point, for me, is Catherine Astolfo, whose book Legacy has been featured this week.

I was an Associate Member (ie: unpublished author) on the board of Crime Writers of Canada. Cathy was National Vice President. After being out of circulation for a few years while taking care of my family, I felt like I had jumped out of my depth. Cathy and I got off on the wrong foot at the beginning, but then it came up that I too had a book named Legacy, which would later be published as Deadly Legacy.

I bought her book. She asked to read my manuscript. We got talking and the next thing I knew, I had my first fan (outside family and close friends). We've been friends and partners in crime ever since. Yet, it was almost a year since we first talked and when we finally met face-to-face.

I've never met Kat Flannery in person, but we wrote Hazardous Unions together.

Kat came up with the idea of doing a pair of historical romance novellas that tied in with each other. Since we both wrote historical western romance and were both with Imajin Books, our partnership made sense.

Armed with long distance plans, we brainstormed ideas and titles then decided on a time and place to set the stories. We used email and Skype to continue the process, ironing out details and keeping our family histories straight.

Although we're both Canadian, we share a fascination with the American Civil War. Kat suggested we go North and South. I suggested twin sisters since I have twin cousins who, even when geographically apart are always spiritually close.

The funniest long distance connection I've made is with Alison Bruce. It started when another author contacted me to ask me about my agent. The agency they mentioned was one I had queried but not heard back from. I was cautiously excited. Maybe I missed a vital email or letter.

No. There was another Alison Bruce writing mysteries in the UK. She lived near Cambridge and was the mother of a handsome son and lovely daughter. When I forwarded her the errant email, I pointed out the confusion, mentioning that I also lived near Cambridge (Ontario) and had a handsome daughter and lovely son.

People still get us confused. I've often been credited with writing the DC Goodhew series by readers on this side of the Atlantic and I know at least some UK readers think Alison writes the Deadly series. What they think of my historical romances are anyone's guess.

Through networking and social media I've made friends, promotional buddies, and publishing contacts. I've helped and been helped. Supported and been supported. I am not alone.


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