Quick note: One year ago to the day, Hurricane Sandy blasted her way through the Jersey Shore (among many other areas) and left devastation. A fire (most likely caused by wiring damaged by Sandy) wreaked more havoc only a few weeks ago on Seaside Park and Seaside Heights. In short, the work isn't over yet. Please consider helping out at Restore the Shore.
I'm reaching the age now where some friends and acquaintances are talking about reitrement. They've been working the same job, for one entity or many, for a long time now, have been saving up in IRAs and 401(k)s, and are now beginning to look forward to taking it easy and giving up the grind.
I can't relate.
Writers don't retire--not most of us, anyway. We keep working until we keel over at our keyboards. This is only partially due to the wildly excessive remuneration we receive (that's a joke, friends). Now, your Stephen Kings and your Nora Robertses can retire pretty much whenever they feel like it, and others like, for example, me, married well enough that the mortgage has been paid and the gas bill taken care of over the years without our having to get "real jobs".
But beyond the economic reasons (which would be enough), most of us--clearly including Stephen and Nora--have no desire to give up the job. We started writing because we had stories we wanted to tell, not because we thought we'd get rich. That wasn't the goal. Once people actually started reading the stories we wrote, that just fueled more production. Encouragement is a very addictive drug.
In my case, we can add the fact that I didn't publish a book until I was in my 40s. I had foolishly spent two decades trying to convince Hollywood that I was the next William Goldman (despite there being a perfectly serviceable William Goldman still alive and writing), and doing so from the entertainment capital of the world, central New Jersey. Banging one's head against a wall, despite all axioms, is a habit that's very hard to break.
Once having gotten the message from the movie business, however, I found that writing novels (especially mystery novels) came somewhat more naturally. So I started doing that. And waddaya know, someone wanted to publish one. Then three. Then someone else wanted to publish some more.
And then came E.J. Copperman and people started actually reading my work in noticeable numbers. There is now no turning back.
Two more books due in the Haunted Guesthouse series. Hope there'll be more after that. Three books at least in the series E.J. and I are writing together (or something), with the first due out next year. Hope there are more after that. And beyond that? Who knows?
There's no manditory retirement age for imagination, and that's all a person needs to write.
Ladies and gentlemen: THE THRILL OF THE HAUNT comes out a week from tomorrow (Tuesday, November 5). I hope you'll be interested (and I'll be bugging you even more ardently next week). Pre-ordering is possible and encouraged.
I like this job. I want to keep it. I intend to do it until I I keel over at my keyboard.
Oh yeah: And all the Haunted Guesthouse novels (except the upcoming THRILL OF THE HAUNT are now available as audiobooks at Audible.com. The first two are on sale for only $3.49!