What's coming next from the pen of Julia Ross? Alas, I have no idea!
Last summer my editor at Berkley asked me to write a different kind of novel after Clandestine: not so much romance, more historical fiction where a real English queen could play a central role.
At first I was thrilled by the idea. I'd truly loved writing all of my historical romances, but each one seemed to be getting more difficult to write and I wasn't sure why. I only knew that I was feeling a bit restless.
So the opportunity to try something new was exciting. My editor, agent, and I spent some fun hours tossing around ideas. I did lots of reading about dramatic moments in British history, any one of which could have inspired a great novel.
Yet my muse didn't seem to share in all the excitement. Whenever I tried to work one of these "great ideas" into a new novel she refused to cooperate, as if she'd been secretly entertaining thoughts of rebellion all along.
I started to feel a bit panicky. This had never happened to me before. Instead of the joy and pleasure I'd always found in writing, I began to dread sitting down at the keyboard.
Meanwhile, my editor was looking forward to my next proposal. My agent was ready to negotiate my next contract. My readers were writing to tell me how much they'd loved Clandestine and how they couldn't wait to see what was coming nextand I had nothing!
If I didn't come up with a good idea soon, I was going to let down a lot of people, and I especially couldn't bear the thought of disappointing my fans.
So then I began to feel very guilty, as well.
I'd invested over twelve years of my life in my writing career and never been without a contract. I'd published fourteen novels and two novellas without ever really taking a break. Because I'd sold the first traditional Regency I'd ever written, I had no backlog of unpublished manuscripts to draw from when the pressure was on.
Yet each new idea had seemed to come magically from nowhereuntil now!
I don't mean that writing a novel wasn't always hard work. Of course it was. Nevertheless, I've always been an essentially intuitive writer. Each story was sparked by some burning idea that announced itself with a lot of power and insistence, and now there simply wasn't one.
The more I tried to force it, the less it worked, until in the end I hit a wall of creative exhaustion.
So I didn't have much choice except to quit writing for a while to let the well refill and give my muse a chance to recover her enthusiasm.
Unfortunately, publishers must work with absolute deadlines. Production schedules are locked in, covers are printed, and bookstores are notified sometimes more than a year in advance. So there probably won't be a new title from me for several years.
Yet I hope you won't forget me! I'm proud of every book I've ever written (even when I would still change a few things if I could!)and many of my earlier books are being released in German editions, as wellso I'm still finding new readers. I value each and every one of them, just as I'm truly grateful to all of my loyal fans.
Though I have no idea what or when it will beand I never talk about work in progresswhen the muse cooperates, I'm sure I'll write another new novel.
I promise to post about it here when that happens.
Meanwhile I was touched to the heart when one of my fans learned what was happening and e-mailed me: "Enjoy your break -- you deserve it! I think you put a lot into your books, much more than others! PLEASE write Historical Romance after your break -- same time period please, maybe bring in some Russian? I can see the prince on his large white horse with his Russian Wolfhounds running at his side.........."
And who knows? Maybe I will!
Thank you, readers!