A little thinky today. I finished reading Bertrice Small's Lara, and started in on Johanna Lindsey's A Loving Scoundrel. Been reading both authors for years, and got to thinking about how we've all changed since I first started reading their stories and writing my own. This may get rambly.
I wrote my first historical romance when I was seventeen. Actually, that's when I began it. It took me my entire college career to write the whole darned thing, which was really two books (big monster volume.) I'm somewhat older than that now, and my first book is coming out in January. The abovementioned two-headed monster lives in the back of my closet at home...it's traveled with me to everywhere I've lived between then and now, and always claims the back of the closet for its room.
One reason -- it stinks. The influences of my favorite authors shows, and not in a good way. Though I learned my love of historical romance from them, it works much better when I let things I love from other writers come through the filter of my own voice rather than tryint to imitate theirs. Character arc could be called pastiche by some, and while I did glean a love of a strong heroine, the fact that a historical romance can be packed full of history, and it's fun to follow one's h/h through many years before rewarding them with a HEA, only Small is Small, only Lindsey, Lindsey, only Sherwood, Sherwood, and so on. Only Bowling is Bowling, too.
My grasp of the historical period was nebulous at best -- I'd switched from Elizbeth Tudor's time, to her dear ol' daddy's when I got the bright idea for a sequel about the heroine's daughter, and I'm pretty sure I didn't go back and change everything. I am much better now at both history and editing.
Plus there was life. College, not finishing it (which is not a regret; college and I were not a good fit) and other aspects of adulthood, involving a great husband, good family stuff, a stint in retail before I figured out I can't be anything but a writer/artist. I don't know how seventeen-me and now-me would get along. I think seventeen-me would be a little wary of now-me, come to think of it, but I know she'd love the hair. I like to think she'd pick up my books, too.
But not that first one. It had its good parts, and I do go back and mine those for inclusion in my current writing, but as a whole, it needs to stay where it is. It keeps my sequinned sneakers, also from the 80s, good company. I'd hate to break up the pair after so long an acquaintance. I like knowing they're there.