Creative Promiscuity

Feb 4, 2010 | TV, Movies, & Good Reads, Writing

Yes, when I heard that phrase last night on NPR, I grinned. I was listening to an interview with Colin Firth on Fresh Air, and he is so wonderfully intriguing. So when he described what he loves about acting, that it is a form of creative promiscuity, I knew exactly what he meant.

What Colin Firth was describing was the excitement and passion that an actor (or in my case, a writer) can put into projects, because the work we do is so finite. You start a film, you finish a film, you go to the next project. You sell a book idea, you write the book, the book is published. But while you are on that project, it takes all your attention and passion. And you love it, embrace it and revel in it, because it won’t last forever and there is a shiny new project always glimmering on the horizon. And the best part is that sometimes you have no idea what that next project will be, but you know that it will fill you with a brand new excitement and a new joy.

Someone asked me recently how it felt to have written 17 books. Wasn’t I afraid of running out of ideas? Wasn’t I worried about doing the same old, same old. Well, yes sometimes, and definitely no.

Every book is like meeting a brand new lover, my own secret creative promiscuity. It really is why I love the work I do—every book has its own challenges, ones I create and ones that are unanticipated. I love getting to know the characters in the stories and I adore the secondary characters who can be as quirky and devilish as they want. I love the surprises that writing brings, the “aha” moments, the days when the words sing in my ears as if they are being whispered from on high. When Colin Firth talked how he loves acting because it is a distraction from life, I knew exactly what he meant and I grinned. My writing, like his acting, is a place to escape. For me and hopefully, for those who read my stories.

I suppose this got me grinning because right now I am between projects. I am in that small, rare (hopefully rare, because I do like working) black hole in a writer’s life where you have turned in a book, the proposal for the next one and am in a holding pattern until all the answers get shaken down from on high, ie, my beloved editor. And while it is a mini-vacation, I find it disconcerting not to be knee deep in a book.

Of course, the first two days I totally played around. Got a pedicure and went to the movies. But I am too practical to live like that for long, and my “vacation” since has been organizing my taxes, cleaning out files and basically getting the decks cleared for the work to come. Honestly? I am lonely. I want to get on with getting to know Minerva and Lord Langley. I want their love story to fill my heart with smiles, and I look forward to the secrets that I have yet to unearth about these two characters. In other words, I am ready for a new affair.

What is your passion?


  1. Landon

    i was wondering when you would be putting up footnotes for your latest novels. i was looking through your books section and i noticed the last three didn’t have any.

    well, i just wanted to let you know that i really enjoy that part of your website. 🙂 thanks for taking the time to read this.

  2. sheryl

    happy valentines day! isnt romance great! all these new stories evolving i love it.the 14th is also my anniversary but my ever impatient husband brought me a stuffed teddybear(he gets me one every year)a box of candy and the movie “the time travelers wife. i was wondering if your are going to be auctioning for names to go into your book this year? cant waite for your next book when do you think it will be coming out and do you ever come to missouri? your ever faithful fan.

  3. sheryl

    maybe you could get colin firth on the cover of one of your books, he is sexy and i wouldnt mind seeing him shirtless and a pair of pantaloons hahah

  4. Emily Bryan

    Brilliant post! I know exactly what you mean about creative promiscuity. A book is so intimate, such a part of our hearts.

    And I empathize with your sense of “limbo” now. You’re waiting for that ‘new love’ to come along. Hope it’s a short wait!

  5. sara

    i have a sugestion that you could make a book about John from “Memoirs of the Sandelous Red Dress” and he could fall in love with Molly(the one who helped his mother at the end of the book) and find out what the letter his mother gave to him is al about.



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