News, commentary, and fiction by Barb Hendee, co-author of the Noble Dead saga (www.NobleDead.org); author of the Mist-Torn Witches series, the Vampire Memories series, and more.

Is Writing Something Like an Addiction?

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On writing . . .

I'm a different person when I'm writing and when I'm "not writing." I'm always kind. I always get everything done that needs to be done. But when I'm not writing, I'm 100% "there" for the other people in my life. When I'm working on a book, I'm someplace else. Since I'm a binge writer, I can often get an entire novel written in a few months, but during those months, I'm someplace else.

Not long after I turned in the last book in the Dark Glass series, I made a firm decision to quit writing. On the financial front, I needed to turn my full attention to my teaching career, as I need to take care of J.C.

When I'm not writing fiction, I'm a better teacher, a better partner, a better friend. Plus, I am weary of the entire struggle of the current state of the publishing industry.

More than a few people asked me, "Barb, what are writing now?"

I would always answer, "I'm trying to quit," like it was some kind of drinking problem.

And I did quit . . . until about last February when the characters in The Hunters' Girl started running around inside my head, and I couldn't get them to go away, and I sat down and started writing.

Once the first three chapters were done, I showed them to my agent. He said, "This is good, but I can't sell it right now. No one is buying this type of fantasy. It would be better if you wrote something more like The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern."

He's a good agent, and he knows the market, but the problem was that I wasn't trying to write a salable novel. I was trying to get these characters to leave me alone. So I wrote some more and then showed the project to my friend, John Hartness, over at Falstaff Books. He said, "This is good."

I finished the novel and put it up for sale. And now I'm struggling with how to proceed. The characters aren't running around in my head so much, but their story isn't done. I'm starting a summer term with four courses (two that I've never taught before), so I'll be buried for at least two months. Then . . . I don't know. But I know that as much as I sometimes want to, I can probably never say, "I've quit."

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