Pre-Destination, by Kristine Grayson
Maybe there’s a reason I write about soul mates, and maybe that reason isn’t the fact that I met my own on a dusty Albuquerque Street twenty-five years ago. Maybe the reason is because not only was my relationship predetermined (I’m convinced), but because my profession was too.
I have included a photo of me that my husband swears should be my pro shot. My siblings—who are all about twenty years old than I am (seriously)—remember clearly that I was a bookish child. (No kidding.) My oldest sister, an English professor, taught me how to read when I was three. She was practicing the techniques she was learning in school.
I wrote my first “book” at seven, my first real novel (Partridge Family fan fic—be nice) at thirteen, and got my first professional writing gig at sixteen, when I wrote the high school column for the local paper. I also was the first student to get paid to do that, because I wondered why all the other reporters got paid and the high school kid doing the schlep work didn’t. Apparently, my no-nonsense personality was hardwired in as well.
When I grew up, I planned to be a journalist because everybody knew that no one could make a living writing fiction. Turns out everyone was wrong. My brother gave me a subscription to Writers Digest for one of my birthdays (twelve) I think, and I read it religiously. Which meant that I started submitting my work to magazines before I graduated from high school. I started selling short stories in college.
I didn’t write my first publishable novel until I got a computer. (Yes, I’m old enough that I used to write on typewriter. Not only that, I’m old enough that I once got a job—in a textbook publishing company, no less—because I knew how to turn on a computer. No lie. No one else there could figure it out.) Once I wrote my first novel, eventually published as The White Mists of Power under my real name, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, there was no stopping me.
Except I didn’t do what I dreamed of. I didn’t write romance.
I wrote everything else. I’ve written bestselling, award-winning novels in every genre except erotica. But because I loved romance the most, I was afraid I’d screw it up.
Finally, an anthology editor asked me for a short story about wizards. I wrote a story called “The Strangeness of the Day,” under my Rusch name (you can find the story online or in the collection Recovering Apollo 8: And Other Stories). In “The Strangeness of the Day,” I introduced a wizard named Blackthorne and a lawyer who represented Sleeping Beauty.
When I finished the story, my darling soul mate/husband, said, “Where’s the novel?”
Now I hate it when he says that. Because that means I’ll be writing a novel soon, one I hadn’t planned on. And sure enough, I wrote Utterly Charming (which Sourcebooks will reissue in the fall) and it won the RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Paranormal Romance. But the novel was so different from anything I’d done, I put a pen name on it. Kristine—because I’ve learned I don’t answer to anything else—and Grayson, after (um) (okay this is embarrassing) Dick Grayson, or Robin, my very first superhero crush. (Yes, I’ve had others.)
Utterly Charming led to five more Grayson romances, which then brought me to another anthology, edited by a friend of mine. He wanted a story about star-crossed lovers. Who was more star-crossed than yet another Prince Charming and an Evil Stepmother. I wrote the story, my friend hated it, and my soul mate husband said, “Where’s the novel?”
So I wrote it, and Deb Werksman at Sourcebooks loved it, and here it is: the seventh Kristine Grayson novel. The eighth, Charming Blue, will be published by Sourcebooks next year, after they reissue not only Utterly Charming but Thoroughly Kissed.
Long story short: that little girl, sitting on those books, is now a (much bigger) girl who writes piles of books, and couldn’t be happier. If you want to find all the Grayson books and see how they’re interconnected, go to my website, www.kristinegrayson.com. If you’re interested in the piles of books written under my Rusch name, then go to www.kristinekathrynrusch.com.
And check out my short stories from time to time. Because, you know, future novels lurk there. And future pen names—like Kris DeLake who also has some Sourcebooks releases in her future. Predetermined yes, at least my writing career. As for the stories, I’m constantly surprised at what comes out of my computer. Maybe there are gnomes inside. Or cats. Or very bad elves…
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