I’m a little crazy these days.
Not that there’s anything unusual about that, I’ll freely admit. But I’m just a little crazier than usual.
When my publisher suggested (okay, sort of mandated) that I needed an alternate identity for my women’s fiction books, I readily agreed. A new contract! People who love my book? Let’s do this! It will be fun. It will be fabulous. Sure, having a pen name along with my real name will be extra work but how bad can it be?
It turns out that bad is not the relative term.
Kerry Anne King doesn’t get nearly as much social media time as Kerry Schafer. And really, that’s okay. I expected that. What I wasn’t prepared for is the schism in my soul and the difficulty of focusing on two completely different books at the same time.
I feel fragmented.
Dead Before Dying is dark, spooky, edgy and full of paranormal critters and mysteries.
Closer Home is all relationships and grieving and reality. And hope. Let’s not forget the hope.
True, these are all aspects of my personality. And I’ve always loved to read – and write – whatever story happens to capture me at any given moment. But I tend to compartmentalize and this process is breaking down some of my walls.
Looking at the covers of the two books going out into the world within a month of each other, I feel unbalanced and vulnerable, almost as if these two sides of my nature have been tiptoeing around each other all of my life, and are not sure about sharing daylight hours in the same office space.
The darker, more sardonic side of me spurns romance and too much outward display of emotion. She loves black, scorns the color pink, and is pretty fond of the F-bomb. And the softer side, the part that was good at being a counselor, is open and accepting to emotional expression in all its forms. She’s a sucker for poetry. She cries (secretly, lest somebody see) during movies and maybe even the occasional commercial.
At the core I’m always me, but I tend to operate more out of one side or the other in any given situation.
Of late, both Kerrys are rubbing elbows a lot and it’s being – interesting. While we’re working to assimilate and negotiate this development (which we really should have seen coming) the writer inside is merely fascinated and intrigued.
Interesting. A woman who thinks she knows herself so well, suddenly realizing that maybe she doesn’t know herself at all. What could we do with this? Hmmm. Is there a novel in it? What would it be? Can we maybe do a mash up of mystery, fantasy, and women’s fiction?
At this point, we’re still sorting out the inner dynamics, but we have two takeaways.
- Writing is therapy. I’ve always known this. When I first got into counseling, I planned to do writing therapy with my clients. This didn’t materialize for a whole bunch of reasons (management decrees, clients who didn’t like writing, etc) but I’m still a believer. When we are willing to dig a little deep, writing helps us find ourselves. It points out our dark and shadowed places. It heals.
- The writer brain loves a little crisis of the soul. The writer brain loves drama. The writer brain loves chaos. Basically, the writer brain is an asshole and loves everything that isn’t peaceful and happy.
Enough introspection for one morning. There are words to write.
Kerry is the queen of the misfit story. She writes fantasy that has its teeth sunk into reality, mystery that delves into the paranormal, and women’s fiction that embraces the dark and twisty realms of humanity.