One of the great floating institutions in DC is the Moldea Authors' Dinner, which is held a couple of times a year at the Old Europe restaurant. Aside from being fun -- you don't worry about how Zagat's is going to rate the schnitzel here, you just kick back some good German beer and enjoy yourself -- it's inspirational to see all these writers, some very successful and others struggling, like me, to get the next book out.
So you have writers like Jeff Deaver, who is firing on all cylinders with another authorized James Bond sequel and his own Lincoln Rhyme (the character portrayed by Denzel Washington in "The Bone Collector") series, and Jim Grady, who reached fame and fortune at an early age with a book that became "Three Days of the Condor." And you have writers like Dan Stashower, who published some mysteries but has switched to nonfiction (his new book, The Hour of Peril, on how Pinkerton foiled a plot to assassinate Lincoln even before the Civil War is coming out in January), and Jim Reston, a well-established nonfiction writer who is now working harder than you might think necessary to get his novel published.
There are assorted others who haven't published a book in several years along with the inimitable Paul Dickson, who brings out several books each year. Regardless of how successful (in terms of sales) or which genre, we're all dealing with the same problems in getting books written and published. One author who has a pretty high post in the administration and who is writing a thriller suggested that writing fiction on an intermittent basis is challenging because you need to stay in touch with your characters. This rang a bell with me and helped me understand why I have trouble finding any sort of rhythm in writing the new financial thriller. It's not so much writer's block per se, but a lack of continuity with the character.
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