Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is the big career goal to which we currently aspire.
The first thing for me to remember is the fact this is my second fulltime career, the first having been at NASA/JPL on the business side of the house where I made my way up the ranks of management in our Division, stepped sideways into working on fascinating projects, made another career move to become a process improvement person and principal individual contributor reporting to the Division Manager, received a NASA Exceptional Service Medal…in short, I did all the classic career things of promotions, raises, challenging work, recognition over a lot of years…and had wonderful experiences along the way because how could you work at the place that built Mars rovers and other such robotic missions and not have a blast?
I’ve been writing since I was seven years old but at the time I went to college, there was never any realistic prospect of making a living as a writer, so I majored in business and followed that path. Marriage, motherhood, widowhood, single working-outside-the-home motherhood… I always wrote my stories though.
And then when I finally had an empty nest and more time to myself, I decided to go for it and see if I could become a published author.
So I did that (thank you, Carina Press!). Then I got into self-publishing in a big way and eventually was able to leave the day job and write full time after three years.
So my point here is, in my writing career I never had the kinds of goals many of my peers had or have. I didn’t want an agent, I didn’t want contracts, I didn’t want to write for a traditional publisher. I don’t have specific goals for annual royalties – as long as I can continue to support myself as a fulltime author, pay the bills and buy Jake the Cat his preferred food, I’m happy.
I wanted to have FUN and be a fulltime author.
I got to do book signings, book readings, be on panels at romance conferences, see my books on the shelf in several independent book stores…received some very satisfying awards…made wonderful friends…I was lucky enough to interview my favorite authors like Nalini Singh as well as some of the TV actors on science fiction shows I loved (“Killjoys” and “Dark Matter”)…I got to be a genuine Star Trek character, reading a (tiny) part in the official audiobook of Harlan Ellison’s “The City on the Edge of Forever”…yes, I am a starship Enterprise Red Shirt Crew Member but I survived the episode, people…and put my ‘Veronica Scott’ signature on the copy of the script next to the real Hollywood actors’ names, which was a THRILL.
I’ve been on the USA Today Best Seller list, which I never in a million years would have expected to happen…
I have around 35 books out…
So my author journey has been about telling my stories, having readers, having experiences that my former day job self never would have gotten to enjoy. Freedom from ever going to any more staff meetings, process improvement training or management retreats.
There is one thing though…okay, I admit it – I want, I crave – to have a movie or TV show made from one of my books. I long to watch actors bringing my characters to life for the screen (any screen, any size – Apple TV, call me!)
I did have several wonderful audiobooks made, with actor/narrator Michael Riffle bringing my characters to life and thoroughly enjoyed the experience – it was a pleasure to work with him and his wife – but I still long for that cinematic treatment.
I know there’s always the chance the film adaptation will be awful or completely take my story and turn it unrecognizable (like Andre Norton’s Beast Master although Marc Singer was hot in his day), but I’ll take that chance!
(Said with tongue in cheek): How can it be no one wants to turn my “Titanic in space” novel Wreck of the Nebula Dream into a movie? A TV movie? A half hour special? A long commercial? An Instagram story? Or take the Star Cruise series and tell a love boat in space type tale?
So that’s my one unrequited professional goal…
I did actually have a breath of Hollywood interest in one of my novels quite early in my career. Ironically it wasn’t my science fiction romance but one of my ancient Egyptian paranormal romances they were considering. Unfortunately for me, fortunately for them no doubt, the primary person involved suddenly got a great role on a very large hit TV show and that was the end of the discussions.
I’m not exactly waiting by the phone but it would be cool….
Until then I’ll keep on writing and having fun.