Yesterday, Valentine's Day, was the anniversary of my first novel sale. Twenty-nine years ago, Virginia Kidd called me to say that David Hartwell at Pocket Books was taking my fantasy PRINCE OF MORNING BELLS. It was a red-letter Valentine gift.
This came to mind for two reasons. First, I received an ecstatic email from Mary Robinette Kowalski that she just sold her first novel, SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY, to Tor. The novel is set in Jane Austen's England, which of course has me panting to read it even if Mary's writing wasn't as good as it is. She won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2008, and this book is sure to be a delight.
The other reason my novel anniversary came to mind is that I am giving a talk on Thursday at the University of Rochester on "Becoming a Writer." Thus, it behooves me to start thinking about becoming a writer. Why do people do this? What is the process? What do I really have to say about this subject, and what will the audience expect to hear? Sometime today or tomorrow I need to sit down with a legal pad and pen and jot down thoughts on this. I know my own "career path" -- a grandiose term for what was essentially a muddling through -- but I think I ought to widen the focus from that. But to what?