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Some Circles

“I know that it’s quite fashionable in some circles to talk about how much you suffer as a writer, and you do suffer in some ways. Particularly if you’re delving deep into material that you find painful or that is objectively painful. But I probably wouldn’t do it if the suffering was greater than the reward.” – Margaret Atwood –

I like the way she put that: it’s fashionable in some circles. As I’ve already mentioned in the last few posts, not all writers talk about how much they suffer. I’ve noticed that in some circles I hear it more than in others.

What about the second part of her quote? I probably wouldn’t do it if the suffering was greater than the reward. Surely, if we’ve made the decision to become authors, we’ve decided that the reward is greater, right? But what exactly is the reward?

Steven Pressfield says that we have the right to our labour, but not the fruits of our labour. In other words, that the work is its own reward. Other writers see sales figures and bestseller lists as the reward. What is your reward? And, is it worth the “suffering”?


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Valerie Francis

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

Well, you’re not going to believe this. Reece Witherspoon and I picked the same book for our February book clubs. Sort of.  Late last year, I came across THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE by Marie Benedict and was fascinated by the premise. Benedict writes historical fiction, much like Philippa Gregory,

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Valerie Francis

A Girl Named Howard

This month, rather than recommend one book to read, I’m recommending the entire body of work of one author because Anne Rice, who passed away December 11, 2021, single-handedly revolutionized the role of vampires in literature.  Yes, vampires.  And the impact she’s had is more significant than you might realize.

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Valerie Francis

The Christmas Bookshop

If you’ve had it up to your eyes with holiday preparations and are looking for a light-hearted story to escape into, The Christmas Bookshop, by Jenny Colgan, might be just the ticket. The title is a bit misleading, in my opinion. Yes, there’s a bookstore. Yes, the plot unfolds in

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