Why I stopped writing my Emily Graham series.
My Emily Graham Mystery/Suspense series began as a huge surprise for me, as I thought I was just sitting down to write one very short story based on something I thought of many years ago. I was amazed when that story kept growing and eventually became an actual novel. I was far more amazed when I finished that story and Emily and the other characters insisted there was a second, and then a third. And, I truly had no thought whatsoever of a fourth story until the characters woke me up early one morning last Fall to tell me about their plans for the book, “Discontinue!”.
I had two goals for all of the Emily Graham stories. The first was to create stories that were engaging to read, and that were as authentic as possible. For that authenticity, I did a lot of research looking through the reams of available declassified government and agency reports, as well as reading through long lists of public blogs and posts written by individuals in various leadership roles in politics, law enforcement, media, and other areas.
The second goal was the same goal I have for all of my writing: to have a good time creating my stories.
That’s where things fell apart for me.
The Emily Graham stories each highlight some elements of our current world that exist to some degree and I ask my readers “What if?”. There is political intrigue, and terrorism, and…well, many of the things that are fun to explore in the imagination as fictional stories.
But fiction is only fiction until it happens.
The past several months took the fun out of those stories for me. Not because of an individual, or a specific political party, or a specific issue, but because of a growing feeling of sadness and fatigue that began to overwhelm the world, and my world of stories. I have never liked bullies, and I have always believed that every life is of equal value with all others, and those were key drivers in my storytelling. The world around me became a big stick that battered my storytelling with Emily Graham into exhaustion. It was too real to be fun anymore.
So, I made the decision to stop writing my fourth Emily Graham book. Emily is not dead, but she is just hiding someplace safe along with a piece of my heart and creativity.
This decision is not a veiled attempt to make some “statement” about the activities taking place today or the people who are involved in them.
The fun was gone.