The Dream Lives on: My 200th Book
by Marie Ferrarella, Silhouette Romantic Suspense (among other series!) author
I find myself speechless, or, more accurately, wordless. According to my mother, I started talking at nine months and, according to my husband, I haven’t stopped since, not even in my sleep. However, typically at the end of writing each book, I discover myself to be depleted of descriptive words and fall back on using such wonderful placeholder words as thingamajig or thingy and other such “words” guaranteed to make Shakespeare and the editors of most modern dictionaries either roll over in their graves (if they should happen to be occupying one) or shudder violently.
Whenever I finish writing a book, it is as if I’ve tilted my head and every single viable word I know (in English, Polish and Spanish) has just leaked out of my ear, never to be retrieved again—or at least not until I sit down to a new project. But vocabulary-wise, I’m all but relegated to sign language (not the real kind but what was seen as so-called sign language in all those grade B Westerns I grew up on).
And, although I’m four chapters away from finishing another book, I seem to find myself in the same place. Wordless. All because this is September. No, I’m not allergic to September, nor do I, now that I am no longer in elementary school or junior high, greet the approach of the month with a stomach tied up in a knot of anticipation because another school year is upon me. This September is different. This is the September in which my 200th book with Harlequin Books is on the stands. My 200th book. Wow. (Like I’ve said before, I really don’t feel a day over 100 books.)
I’ve been writing romances and romantic suspense since my very first sale on November 15th, 1981 (I can give you the exact time if you’re interested—it’s one of those things etched into my brain, like the first time I saw my future husband—February 6th—never mind what year but for the record, I was fourteen at the time). To date, I’ve sold 218 to Harlequin (14 others are scattered through the rest of the publishing world), but (but?) at the moment, visibility-wise we’re up to 200 that the public has thus far seen. It is enough to render even someone like me (my CIA code name is Chatty Cathy) truly speechless.
Yes, I know. I am going on and on, “babbling” in some form of the written English language but only because I cannot find the right words to say “thank you.” Thank you to my kids who have, for the last 29 years or parts thereof, put up with a mother who without warning would space out in the middle of a sentence because characters in her head have suddenly grabbed her attention with a piece of dialogue that just emerged out of nowhere. Thank you to my husband who has silently (more or less) put up with scattered notepads with pieces of dialogue and scenes and ideas left in various (and sometimes strange) places throughout the house (and who, without knowing it, actually provided me with the basis of every single sexy, brooding hero I have ever written about). Thank you to my editors for putting up with me and for realizing that fast did not necessarily mean shoddy, it meant that I had the constitution of a hummingbird on five cups of Starbucks coffee. Most especially, thank you to senior editor Patience Smith, my beloved editor (she refuses to wear out or flee) and senior editor Gail Chasan, both of whom continue to make me feel as if I had talent. Thank you to my agent, Pat Teal, who made me read my first romance novel and turned me in an entirely different direction than the path I was on. And most of all, thank you to everyone who has ever read (or contemplated reading) one of my books. I guess the only words that truly fit here are: thank you (repeated several million times).
So, you wanna hang around for the next 200? Okay, here we go. . . .