Haven’s Fall is the second book in the Rebel Mage series, which takes place in a dystopian world under the rule of a totalitarian religious regime. Now, if I wanted to be absolutely pretentious, I could say that the series is an exploration of forbidden relationships and rebellion, and commentary on the current political atmosphere here in the United States. But, really? That sounds good and literary, but it’s not why I wrote the book at all.
No, the reason I wrote Haven’s Fall is because D.M. Atkins at ForbiddenFiction came to me after I wrote Counsel of the Wicked and asked “What happens next?” And, well, there might have been a two book contract involved in that conversation.
Now, I did not originally intend to commit trilogy. I’ve never written a series before, and I honestly didn’t think that I could. I knew I could write a good stand-alone novel or novella; Counsel of the Wicked was number five on my published list, and the sixth novel I’d sold. But writing a series is a more daunting proposition. Could I tell a story engaging enough to carry over multiple books? Could I stay on track long enough to produce those books, especially on a tight deadline? And most importantly, would people read them? Or would someone finally figure out that I really have no idea what I’m doing, and that I’ve been faking it since 2009?
Okay. Not really. I have written every single word of every single short story and novella and novel since I started writing. That includes the manuscripts that were so bad I wouldn’t even line a birdcage with them because it might kill the bird. I’m told that I’m good at this whole writing gig. But you, dear reader, know as well as I do that a person’s worst critic is between their ears. So when I say that I really have no idea what I’m doing, maybe that should be better stated as I think I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m told that a lot of writers and artists have this problem, enough that it actually has a name. It’s called Imposter Syndrome.
There is a fantastic book by Amanda Palmer called The Art of Asking. It’s one that I highly recommend as required reading for all creative people of any type. She has much the same problem with Imposter Syndrome—she calls it The Fraud Police:
“We’ve been watching you, and we have evidence that you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING. You stand accused of the crime of completely winging it, you are guilty of making shit up as you go along, you do not actually deserve your job, we are taking everything away and we are TELLING EVERYBODY.”
So, you see, it’s not just me. This is something that a lot of artistic people feel. We’re not really as good as people think we are. We’re not really that talented. We don’t really deserve the praise. But really, yes, we do. If we’ve gotten this far, we really do. And everyone else thinks so. This may be the one time in your life when you are supposed to care what other people think of you.
So when that contract came my way, and that question was asked? That’s why I wrote Haven’s Fall, and why I’m writing Rebel Mage 3. Because someone outside of my own head thought I could do it. Thought I was a good enough writer to carry off a trilogy, and wanted to see what I could do with it.
Because even though I might be faking it, people still think I’m really darned good at it.
Elizabeth Schechter has been called one of the top erotica and alternative sexuality writers in the world. Her writing credits include the award-winning steampunk erotic romance House of Sable Locks, the Celtic fantasy Princes of Air, and the dystopian fantasy Rebel Mage trilogy. Her shorter work has appeared in anthologies edited by D.L King (Carnal Machines), Laura Antoniou (No Safewords), and Cecilia Tan (Jingle Balls; Like a Prince).
Elizabeth Schechter was born in New York at some point in the past. She is officially old enough to know better, but refuses to grow up. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and son, and a most accepting circle of friends who are both very amused and very proud of the pervy, fetish writer in their midst.
I’d like to thank, Elizabeth for stopping by the blog today to share her story. Oh, imposter syndrome! Yes, I have, too. I think it goes way beyond creative people. What do you think, dear readers?
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