Looking back on 2009

This has been quite a year for me. Not only did I get my first novel published, I got married. I could easily say that 2009 was the year that all my dreams came true — and I wouldn't be exaggerating one tiny bit. I have dreamed all my life of being a published novelist, and I have dreamed my entire life of falling in love with someone who is good and true and kind. Both of my dreams were years in the making, and both of them culminated in celebrations in 2009. So it's kind of difficult to find a way to properly assess this year. I feel like it's entirely anomalous — I mean, I don't think that this kind of year will ever happen again. And that's perfectly fine with me. These are once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I know I'll always remember.

The fact that 2009 is coming to an end also means that this decade is drawing to a close, and when I think back on the last ten years, I am struck by how incredibly different my life is now compared to in 2000. So much has changed. I have changed.

It reminds me that no matter how stuck we feel in a particular job or location or emotion, or how heavily invested we are in a particular identity, change still happens. Anytime someone grumbles that they are who they are and they can't change it, I want to shake them up and say, "You're changing right now!" Change may come more slowly to some people than others, but it still comes.

Lines grow on our faces. We grow out of some habits; we grow into others. We grow fonder of some people, while others leave our lives.

Change is probably one of the things I enjoy most about writing. The moments when change comes to a character and she realizes it for the first time — those moments can make me pull my hair out with frustration because they're so hard to write, but if I can capture them fully, they are the moments I love best.

I began 2009 trying to pin down the story that has now become Huntress, my next novel. I'm still grappling with this book as 2009 ends, but the characters that once were like paper dolls to me have become three-dimensional human beings. (Even the inhuman ones.) I'm spending most of this draft (my third) figuring out how these characters are changed by what happens to them. And boy, do things happen in this book. Change is on practically every page.

I have no doubt that 2010 will be very different from 2009. I don't have a new book coming out next year, though Ash will be released in Italy and the U.K. I'm looking forward to spending much less time on promotion than I did in 2009. I'm looking forward to finishing Huntress and getting it ready for publication in 2011, because I really like the characters in this book. I'm looking forward to writing my next book, too, which I'm trying to not be distracted by, even though it keeps showing up in my dreams. (It's a very demanding idea.)

I'm heading to Colorado for a few days over New Year's, so my blog will be quiet till later next week. I hope you all have a wonderful new year. Cheers!