A Door Opens

Years ago I did a signing at a small family-owned bookstore in Gig Harbor. One of the wonderful things about real live booksellers, is that they usually know exactly which book to put in the hands of specific readers. As I was leaving, they gave me a gift, a used copy of Agatha Christie’s autobiography.

I was a mystery writer, so I knew Dame Agatha’s name, of course, but I had never read any of her books. This was long enough ago that David Suchet’s version of Poirot had yet to make it to PBS. Or, if it had, it was at a stage in my life when I wasn’t watching television. At all.

But I took my gift book home, read it, and found some interesting parallels between my life and hers. Yes, we both wrote mysteries. There was that, of course. And we both had first husbands who were, to say the least, pills. Archibald Christie and Jerry Janc were more or less a matched set of bad apples. When it came to second husbands, however, Agatha’s Max and my Bill, we both lucked out big time. And it turns out, so did they.

When Bill and I met, I was making less than a thousand dollars a year writing books. That’s changed considerably since then. I like to say he knew how to back a winning horse. I’m not sure Max Mallowan knew he was falling into a bed or roses when he married Agatha, but he liked it and soon adjusted to being kept in the manner to which he had become accustomed.

One day, when he was sitting in an easy chair reading the newspaper, Agatha came into the room, threw herself on the couch, and announced. “I shall never write another book. I have quite forgotten how to do it.” Seeing that his gravy train might well be coming to a screeching halt, Max was more than a little concerned. Then, a few days later, when Agatha was doing something else, she heard a door close somewhere and realized who was the bad guy in her next story. As soon as that happened, she was off and running again, and so was the gravy train.

That same drama played out more than once. It reached a point that, when she told Max she would never write another book, he would rattle his newspaper, look up long enough to say “Yes, dear,” and go right on reading.

What my readers need to know is this: Every time I need to start a new book, I go through the same kind of “I shall never write another book” crisis. Sometimes I can get through it in fairly short order. Other times, it’s a real struggle.

Which it has been this time. But here’s the good news:  Yesterday a door opened.

16 thoughts on “A Door Opens

  1. Forget Bill and the gravy train! What would your readers do if that door hadn’t opened?! Glad it did. And Bill, nothing personal

  2. That’s a good story. I’ve read most of Agatha Christie’s books, but didn’t know that about her husbands.

    I’m glad you have the support of a good man, too.

  3. I suspect your stellar open mind accounts for a lot of those open doors. I am one of your loyal readers who is very glad for your open mind. I can picture you sitting in your chair with your lovely garden view getting down to business. How exciting for us all to be looking forward to your next book!

  4. Selfishly all I can say is, “Thank goodness!!” Seriously, I hope struggles to get that door open are few and brief. I’m very happy you have a good man like Bill supporting your efforts.

  5. Amen and hallelujah. I had two bad apples fall on my head before I found a good one, and it was worth the wait. And I’m so glad your door opened. There’s a certain muddled, disgruntled state of mind I get into, and a J.A. Jance book is just what I need to pierce the gloom. I’ve already gobbled up most of them, though I’ve yet to dip my toes into the Walker series–that’s next. Happy writing to you, dear lady.

  6. I am so glad you opened a new door. I have found that when a new door opens you need to embrace it, enjoy it and be Happy. Of course your new opened door means New Stories for all your readers. I am selfish enough to want you to open the doors often. Lol
    I am so looking forward to your new books this year. All my favorite authors are running late,this year for their new releases. Usually they start in spring and move on into the fall.
    Have a wonderful week now that Grandmother weeks are over. I bet your tired but fulfilled… Jan

  7. So glad that the door opened….That actually sounds like it should have been a title for one of Agatha’s books. Avid reader of her work as well as yours.

  8. There are few authors left these days that I know so clearly that I will enjoy whatever their next book is, that I’ve begun to discipline myself to wait to read them until such a time as I am desperate to know that I can lose myself in “their” world long enough and deep enough that I can forget THIS world and its despair for a while. You are one of those authors. So, for that reason, I’m selfishly truly grateful that the door opened. I seem to need those authors more often these days!! So, thank you for building worlds that I can so deeply bury myself for a time. You are appreciated!!

  9. Yeah! I’m so thankful that door opened for you! I’m amazed at all the unique story lines you come up with. I’ve just discovered your blog, and am enjoying past writings, along with the photos. Your yard is beautiful, and your husband sounds like a keeper. Glad the two of you found each other. God Bless you both!

  10. Glad for the “open door” I find myself rereading your books, and do enjoy doing so but you always come up with a great story, so thanks for doing another great book for your readers.

  11. Yay for opening doors! I really do NOT know what I would do if you did not write another book. That would be so sad

  12. 7/26/16 at 2:15 pm
    I can barely use a computer, but I learned so that I could talk to you, dear friend! I STILL have trouble making sense of it, but thank goodness you’re still churning them out!

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