So many of us reinvent ourselves in the New Year, so we're asking authors who are rebranding themselves - through choice or necessity - how they go about a writerly reinvention.
As part of our special PHS Rebranding Edition, Synithia Williams is talking about life after Harlequin Kimani...
When I got the announcement the Kimani line at Harlequin was closing in 2018 I was disappointed but not surprised. Harlequin had shut down other lines a year or two before and something in me believed Kimani might be on the list next. While I do hate to see the end of a line that was dedicated to telling stories of black love, I don’t view the end of Kimani as the end of my writing career.
I love writing (most days) and I love writing romance, but I’ve wanted to explore other options. In May I signed with a new agent and as we went over my business plan and the projects I had in the works I realized the future is open to wherever I want to take it.
I love reading paranormal romances and have had an idea of one with strong witches, handsome wizards, and dashing vampires sitting in my head for far too long. I’ve also thought about branching into general or women’s fiction.
One thing that was hard for me while writing for Kimani was keeping my word count down. When I submitted my first novel to Crimson Romance in 2012 it was 100,000 words. I was quickly asked to cut and could only trim my story down to 75,000 words. I like to explore my characters and the people surrounding them. By not being tied to a category line I’ll have the chance to expand my stories.
I’ve already taken advantage of having this freedom to do different things. One day on my lunch break I started plotting a story that is more women’s fiction than romance. The smile that broke out on my face when I realized I could go where I wanted with each of the characters probably had the state troopers sitting at the table next to me wondering what joke they missed.
I was smiling because I realized my characters didn’t have to be cookie cutter perfect. I had room to flesh out their imperfections and give more insight into the decisions they make. I was excited about writing again. Not only did that feel good it gave me hope that I could adapt and change when necessary.
Trying something new comes with questions and fears. Will I have to use a pen name because a new story may not be what my current fans want to read? If I use a pen name am I ready to start the process of building a new brand under that name? No matter what I choose, I do so knowing the only thing I can control is me and my writing. Lines end, publishers fail, and the market swings. I have to keep writing and take the changes as opportunities to stretch my creative wings. Yes, I’m disappointed Kimani is closing, but I’m also thrilled to see what direction I end up taking after the closing of this line.
Synithia's latest release, Overtime for Love, is out now. For more information about her and her writing check out her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.