Stepping into the Unknown
Intro to Dark Horse
I'm a writer, but I've also always been a reader. I've read voraciously my whole life in almost every genre. I've always written, even as a child, and when I finally started to write seriously, with the intent of publication, it was honestly a struggle to decide what kind of stories to write. I had so many ideas.
I wrote fantasy, I wrote a time travel, and I wrote historical fiction. The book that got me my agent and a publishing contract with Simon & Schuster's Gallery Books was a historical, and given how much I love history and reading historicals, that was a very happy place for me.
But part of my love of story has always been fairy tales, myth and legend. The original blueprints for all stories. There is something so fundamental and archetypal about fairy tales, and I found myself writing fantasies based on fairy tales between my historicals, which helped to keep me fresh in both genres.
And then, I found the stories that were coming to me, and speaking to me the most, were science fiction story ideas.
I have always loved Star Wars and Star Trek. I loved Battlestar Gallactica (both the old and the new) and movies like Serenity and the new Star Trek movies. I was very selective with the science fiction I read, but I loved Iain M. Banks and Linnea Sinclair.
I got the idea for Dark Horse while I was writing a new historical, and it came to me so strongly, I decided to write a few chapters of it, and then put it aside.
That never happened.
I found I couldn't put it aside, but at the same time, it wasn't an easy process. This wasn't a book that wrote itself. (I don't think I've ever experienced that phenomenon, sometimes referred to by other writers, although I wait patiently with hope in my heart for the day I do!) I wrote, and re-wrote. I second guessed myself. I tore at my hair.
The problem was I had such a clear idea of what I wanted to come across, and I refused to compromise on making that happen.
When it was done, I was happy that I had stayed true to my original idea of the book, but I assumed, because science fiction is a world away from historical fiction, that Dark Horse would find a happy place among readers but not be any kind of record breaker. That I'd be very lucky if a few of my historical readers gave it a try, although I had some hopes my fantasy readers would be more willing to take a chance on it.
I told myself I was stepping into a new genre and that I just shouldn't expect that much.
I'm really happy to have been so wrong :).
The reception Dark Horse has gotten has really been overwhelming. It is already my most successful book and certainly the best received by readers. I am so thrilled they love the world I created in Dark Horse as much as I do. And I'm happy to say that I am writing another book set in that world right now.
Stepping into the unknown can be scary, but it can be exhilarating, too.