Home > giving thanks where it's due, Random Musings, Writing, Writing Advice > The Dark Enquiry, Deanna Raybourn, and What An Author Needs

The Dark Enquiry, Deanna Raybourn, and What An Author Needs


I’m currently reading Deanna Raybourn‘s The Dark Enquiry, the latest book in her Julia Grey series (I still maintain that Silent in the Grave has one of the best opening lines, ever. Don’t believe me? CHECK IT OUT.). I’m attempting to read through the novel slowly, which is like giving me coffee one drop at a time. Sure, I’m enjoying it, but I have a tendency to want to gulp it down.

The book, of course, is divine. Raybourn writes with such wit and beauty. Even if you’ve never picked up a mystery novel, or a work of historical fiction, you’ll love her writing. It’s poetry and intrigue blended together with deft skill. (I’ve even got my mother hooked on her novels. We exchange books quite often, and she’s just going to have to wait to get her hands on TDE. My precioussssss. *ahem*)

On a serious note, though — first, congratulations to Deanna for becoming a NYT Bestseller. At the risk of sounding madly conceited, I knew it would happen. Because she’s just that good at writing. And no, that’s not me blowing sunshine up anyone’s existence. It’s fact.

Second, I was reading this interview a little while ago, and it is a good (fun) one. However, as a writer myself, I might’ve cheered out lout a bit (embarrassing? Yes. True? Also yes.) at this:

And my husband has been my biggest champion—whenever I moaned about the lack of money and said I needed to go and get a job his response was always, “You have a job. You’re a writer. You’re just not published yet.”

That made me happy. It also reminded me of Virginia Woolf and A Room of One’s Own, but the Woolf bit is ancillary. Having that kind of support is priceless. It can be damned tough to toil for years (with, I’m sure, people asking, “Why haven’t you published anything yet?” or “Why don’t you publish something?” as if things like that grow on trees or can be found at Wal-Mart) without being able to point to a bookshelf. Having folks around you (family, friends etc) to champion your art and hard work? It is invaluable. It is nice to see that kind of support, too (if you read the entire interview, you’ll see that it DOES take a village to raise a writer, which is great phrasing). I’d be remiss if I didn’t confess to wondering if Deanna’s husband has a single brother. What? You were thinking the same thing, admit it.

This is a lesson, folks. It takes TIME and hard work to learn a craft. It also takes a certain level of tenacity — of not giving up. Because, hell, if you give up writing — you are standing in your own way. Deanna Raybourn has mentioned, before, that it took her 14 years to get a publishing contract. That is dedication, and I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I admire that greatly.

So, again, Deanna — congrats! And to the rest of you, read her novels. You won’t be disappointed.

  1. July 5, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Ah, thanks so much for the love, Ali! You’ve always been such a fantastic cheerleader and I so appreciate you spreading the word about my books. I look forward to returning the favor.

    • Ali
      July 5, 2011 at 10:00 am

      It is my pleasure, Deanna. You and your writing deserve cheerleading. (Is cheerleading a word? If not, I’ve just made it into one.) And now *I* am blushing. Thank you for stopping by the comment! 🙂

  2. Jessica
    July 5, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I think very often we stand in our own way because the job we want doesn’t seem logical, or practical, or very much like a job at all when it comes to a literal pay-the-bills sense of the term. And that can make us feel silly or selfish when we need to feel confident and motivated, because that’s the only way you’re ever going to make it.

    I also think it’s difficult, because we live in a day and age when there is such an overabundance of output. Thanks to things like self-publishing, or mass-screenprinting, anyone off the street to publish a novel, or start a clothing line. Youtube has made us all film stars, and directors, and facebook has made us all reality stars. There’s no more focus on talent or quality, because half the time, the worse you are, the more attention you’re able to garner (I’m looking at you, Rebecca Black). Our society is one of instant gratification – we want what we want, when we want it, and we don’t really care how long you want to take to create it; you either supply what we’re demanding, or you lose the game.

    It’s really a sad state of affairs. Monstrous salaries are paid out to people who have never made a positive contribution to society while so many of us are struggling to get by and still add something meaningful to our world. Quality is no longer prized, often it’s not even considered (I’m looking at you, Twilight, and every lackluster vampire book that has followed in your footsteps) in the quest to make a quick buck. You play into what is popular, or you go against the grain and struggle to put forth something that truly means something to you.

    I try not to think about it too much, it just depresses me. (Almost as much as the self-publishing girl who rode the Twilight fangirls to fame and in every single interview cannot act for five seconds like she actually gives a damn about her success. That sort of disdain in the face of so many striving to succeed just saddens me…)

  3. July 5, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Consider Deanna’s books added to my ever-growing list of books to read. Which one should I start with?

    • Ali
      July 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm

      Silent in the Grave! It’s the first book in her Julia Grey series, and the whole series is a lot of fun. There’s a standalone novel, too (The Dead Travel Fast), which you would definitely enjoy.

  4. July 6, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I’m gonna put her on my to read list. Right now I’m working through some “classics” so I might not get to them right away.

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