Nadia Lee | NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author of Contemporary Romance » When the Rules Don’t Work for You

When the Rules Don’t Work for You

Originally published on Naughty and Spice in October 2008 to promote Devil Falls w/a Angelle Trieste.

Many agent and editor blogs talk about how you should never quit your day job to write full-time until you have enough cash to last you six months or so. People need regular a paycheck to pay their bills, and besides, your day job provides you with health insurance and so on.

I quit way way before that.

After I received my business degree, I worked as a consultant for four years. Decided that it wasn’t for me. The work was challenging and the pay was nice enough, but every other aspect of the job was unrewarding. It sapped my energy and destroyed my health. There was no way I could continue to work and write anything worth publishing.

So I quit and moved to Japan. I didn’t have a job lined up. My visa allowed me to stay in Japan for three months as a tourist. Fortunately I didn’t have any credit card debt or car payments or college loans, but I had a mortgage in America. My parents thought I was mad. My friends were stunned.

The only people who saw it coming were me, my best friend and my boyfriend. After two months of doing absolutely nothing (to detox), I started writing. I’d completed a four hundred page novel before, so I wasn’t worried about finishing a project. I was more interested in seeing if I could develop an idea into a full-blown story, then write it out.

My first romance novel was okay, but not special enough. Basically I hadn’t learned how to distinguish a good idea from a bad one yet. Besides so many well-meaning people kept telling me to follow “the rules”, but soon I realized that they were destroying whatever excitement I felt about my ideas. The situation had to change since I hadn’t quit my corporate job to be a starving artist. (Alas, I really enjoy eating…!)

So for my second novel, I decided to write whatever I wanted. Can’t write about musicians? Great. My hero was going to be a cellist. Can’t write about writers? Even better. My heroine was going to be an unsuccessful writer. Can’t set a novel in places that don’t speak English? Excellent. A Caribbean island where most people speak Spanish. Can’t have mean dogs? Fantastic. The hero can have a couple of Dobermans who are suspicious of the heroine. I think the only rule that I followed was making the hero alpha.

I had a blast writing the story. And when Samhain offered to publish it, I let out a loud w00t!

I hope you enjoy reading Devil Falls as much as I did writing it. It’s coming out on October 28th.