I find it easy to fall into the trap of thinking that I’ll never be able to change the set patterns and habits of my life, even if I want to. It’s just not true, and a cursory review of events from my life proves it. I used to be single, for a long time, and now I’m married; I used to be a sporadic churchgoer at best, and now my life seems to revolve around church; it used to feel like I would never finish graduate school, and then I came out the other side with a PhD… and so on. I’ve been writing stories constantly since elementary school, but haven’t published anything except a handful of poems, years ago as an undergraduate. It was easy to feel that this was another pattern that might endure, even though I didn’t want it to.
Last year, I put the finishing touches on a novel that I’m proud of, that I feel expresses in a mature way many things I want to say. I’m actually glad, in retrospect, that I didn’t send much of anything else out into the world before this, because I can see now how much I have learned and grown as a writer. But there’s still the question of publication. It used to be that this was not really within an author’s control; you didn’t just decide to publish, you could only decide to try to publish. But as I was finishing From All False Doctrine, a sea-change was happening that has made it possible for writers to approach publication in a new way. The timing couldn’t be better for me. The confidence I’ve gained from decades of writing for a small audience of friends makes me feel ready to take on the challenge of putting my work out on my own. Gradually I began to make up my mind to do it.
The novel will come out later this summer, but in the meantime, I’m revisiting a series of stories that I had set aside a few years ago. At the time I didn’t know what to do with them: too long and interconnected for most short-story markets, they were not yet numerous enough to combine into a collection, which would be difficult to sell to a publisher anyway. Ebooks, which hadn’t hit the scene when I began writing this series, offer the perfect distribution method. As I looked into options for False Doctrine, I began to get excited about the potential for revisiting my unfinished series.
The stories are urban fantasies set in Toronto, centring on a group of misfit otherworldly characters who live above a bakery in Kensington Market. The series is called Heaven & Earth, after the name of the bakery. The first story, “The Tenants of 7C,” introduces the setting and the characters, and you can now find it for sale on Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords. I plan to make the sequel available in a few weeks. It’s the beginning of a new era for me; I’m starting small, but I’m very excited!
In support of these new endeavours, I have a new site, at alicedegan.com. You may want to follow me there.