Before I introduce our special guest for this week, let me remind any of you who will be in the Charlotte, NC area this weekend that Faith, Misty, and David will be appearing at ConCarolinas. Stop by and say hello!
Our guest today is Mindy Klasky, the talented and versatile author of the Jane Madison series (Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft, Sorcery and the Single Girl, and Magic and the Modern Girl, all published by Red Dress Ink), the Glasswright series (The Glasswrights’ Apprentice, The Glasswrights’ Progress, The Glasswrights’ Journeyman, The Glasswrights’ Test, and The Glasswrights’ Master, all published by Roc), and Season of Sacrifice, a stand alone fantasy published by Roc. Her newest project is the As You Wish series. The first book, How Not To Make a Wish, will be released in October by Mira.
Mindy has been kind enough to share with us the story of her unique and at times challenging career path from full- (and I mean FULL) time attorney to full-time author.
Thank you, Magical Words, for allowing me to visit! As a small gesture of appreciation, I’m giving away a copy of MAGIC AND THE MODERN GIRL to one person who posts in comments below. (I’ll choose the winner using the Magic Random Number Generator some time after midnight on May 31 – if you’re not logged in to the system when you post your comment, please leave an email address so that I can reach you!)
And without further ado…
Once upon a time, I was a lawyer. I practiced trademark and copyright law for seven years at a large D.C. firm. I loved my job. Until 1994, that was. The year the Case From Hell consumed my life.
I had ethical qualms about the Case. I spent a summer in Kansas City humidity. We were understaffed. I was overworked. I billed more than 3000 hours in one year. (Yep. That works out to more than 8 hours a day, 365 days a year. Nope. I didn’t lie on my hourly records.)
But the worst thing of all: I had no time to write. For twelve months, I put my novels on hold completely. No world-building. No character-crafting. No creative writing whatsoever. The loss of writing time was soul-deadening.
When the Case finally ended, I knew I needed a different career. Something that would give me time to write. Something that would let me use my hard-won legal knowledge.
And so, two semesters and a master’s degree later, I became a reference librarian in a law firm. I loved my new job. I learned new things every day. I found story ideas lurking in the oddest of research requests
I had time to write. I sold my first novel, THE GLASSWRIGHTS’ APPRENTICE, which ultimately became a five-volume traditional fantasy series, and a stand-alone traditional fantasy novel, SEASON OF SACRIFICE. I wrote the Jane Madison trilogy, which walks the line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
Over the course of twelve years, I moved up various law-firm ladders, until I was managing a staff of twenty-six librarians, serving 1500 law firm employees and lawyers in fourteen offices. Alas, though, we were understaffed. (Sound familiar?) I was overworked (again, sound familiar?), spending two weeks of every month on the road, visiting my staff in other offices.
And I realized that the worst thing had happened again: I had no time to write.
A year ago, I made my second major career change: I became a full-time writer. So far, it’s working out well – I’ve sold four new novels, launched an editing business, and I do some freelance legal writing on the side. I have time to keep my website – http://www.mindyklasky.com – up to date, and I can post regularly on my blog – http://mindyklasky.livejournal.com. I’m happier with my professional life than I’ve ever been before.
I certainly wouldn’t trade away the time I spent as a lawyer, though. Astute readers have noted that THE GLASSWRIGHTS’ APPRENTICE begins and ends with “trials”, with legalistic inquiries into right and wrong. The balance of logic and justice permeates the entire series and much of my other writing.
I wouldn’t forfeit the time I worked as a librarian either. Jane Madison, the heroine of GIRL’S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT, is a reference librarian who finds out that she’s a witch. The concepts of information management, collection development, and reader’s advisory flavor all three Jane books.
If you’re a writer, how do your current or former day-jobs influence your writing? If you’re a reader, do you perceive authors’ “real-world lives” in their work?