As I finish up the latest novel (the one closest to the end), I look around at the various crossroads, and on most of the detours, it doesn't really make sense to remain "Scott Nicholson." Indeed, I've already submitted one novel under a pen name, and another book I'm working on is in a distinctly different genre. I am very grateful to have published some books and I have some loyal readers. There's nothing as humbling, nor as clear a reminder of why we do this, as when you get a note from someone that says "You're my new favorite author."
Scott Nicholson is a decent commodity and has published some solid work. He is not a bestseller, just a humble hack pouring his heart and lungs out on a keyboard. The word "horror" is on the spines of his six novels but he doesn't feel horrible at all. The books just happened to have some ghosts and creatures in them. They are about faith and love, things Nicholson believes in. He doesn't believe in ghosts and creatures. They contain some darkness. Nicholson has seen darkness. They have some redemption. Well...it is FICTION, after all.
After a flurry of study, research, and inquisition, I've been able to take a more remote look at what I write, how it is presented, and, on the marketing end, how it is categorized out there in the wider world. One thing the online booksellers really excel at is compiling search histories and customer track records and seeing which books you're clumped with. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'd never read the types of books I write, but I'm nowhere near my literary heroes. A lot of that comes to me, and how hard I work at it, and how much I want it. Boy, I love this job. Even though it's a part-time occupation, it's a full-time obsession. It is incredibly satisfying to be published. In the rank of things I wanted to do on this planet, that's probably in third, right after wife and kids (which are really tied for first, I suppose.)
But maybe Scott Nicholson needs to die. It won't be pretty, because I've known him long enough to know he won't go down without a fight. I may have to club him from behind with a shovel, or poison his coffee, or short-circuit his computer. He's got an incredible ego. He thinks what he has to say is important and that the world needs to hear it. Such people are dangerous and tend to persevere.
But if he were gone, I could convince myself to start fresh and never write a scary book. I could write about easy love and blind faith and sincere trust and happy endings. I'd have snappy, likable characters with indentifiable quirks. I'd create a series character. Two series characters, who quibbled over easy love.
But I suspect Scott Nicholson would slide out of his grave at night, dirt spilling from his rotted jacket as he sought his revenge. I'd go down a lot easier than he would.