I have been missing. I know… I know, what’s new right? Except this time I’ve been working hard to get my first novella ready for publication. It should, hopefully, be hitting the Amazon US and UK Kindle Stores by early February at latest. In case anyone has noticed that Sail has randomly been removed from this blog – you now know the reason. I’ve reworked it; got some editing done; chosen a cover and all those fun stuff but I’ve been very quiet about it on this blog because I’ve been contemplating publishing under a pseudonym. Now, now… it isn’t lost on me that if I publish as Rilzy Adams, I will be publishing under a pseudonym (kind of). Rilzy is just an affectionate shortening (but not really) of my actual name, Rilys and has been so much a part of my writing life that I only think of myself in terms of Rilzy when I write. Plus, this is the name to which all of my short stories and blog posts for the past several years belong. Yet, suddenly as publishing becomes more real I feel (and I will deny this tomorrow) afraid to publish under my not-so-real-but-more-real-than-most name. I’ve gone through the process of choosing an appropriate pseudonym, setting up a blog, a twitter account, a Facebook page and the works in preparation for publishing. As I am about to send off the info to the cover artist to get my cover ready, however, I am not sure that I can publish this novella as anything but Rilzy Adams.
I know where my fear is coming from. Fears, really. There is the big one – fear of failure. The fear that despite me giving this my best shot, I was still not ready and the world will declare the novella a failure and me someone who should just give up the jig and spend my time being a good, little lawyer. And then there is the fear which is a bit harder to fix. I am a black woman from the Caribbean. Whilst growing up, I was told repeatedly that I should write about Caribbean things, from the point of view of a woman and about black people because that was the only way to be authentic. I hate following instructions. And, so I’ve made it a habit to write books about whatever and whomever felt appropriate at the time which has resulted in me having a diverse collection of “finished” novels and novellas which I will now start working on getting out. However, despite all of this I was quite determined for the first novel / novella I put out to be set in the Caribbean and focused on a black couple. Unfortunately, the novella I selected for that purpose – Will You Be Mine? isn’t nearly ready for publication. The first reason is that it was completed six years ago and needs at least two rewrites before it matches my current growth in writing. In addition to that, I also because I now want to locate it in the middle of my Johnson Family Series – you might or might not have noticed that The Gift has gone missing from this blog – now you know why :). Sail With Me (the novella I intend to put out), was the manuscript most ready to be published. It was written last year and needed less rewrites. It also focuses on a white, American (previously British) couple because I was inspired by a photo of a couple on a beach and I went with their attributes.
So what now? Do I publish as Rilzy and deal with the possible flack (assuming that anyone gets reading the novella at all :P) for not writing about people who look like me or live where I do? Because I know that is what people will see — they will not see the four yet-to-be worked novellas and novels sitting on my computers featuring those people and the tens bouncing around in my head. Do I explain myself? Do I give this speech – “this is my novella but…?” or do I publish under another name with no photo attached so that no questions can be asked or opinions formed?
I don’t know what I will decide but I’ve taken the first gigantic step to making my dreams come through. So, despite my internal conflict: Rilzy is pretty damn happy.