I wouldn’t say I’m a group-oriented person. In fact, I shy away from anything that seems cliquey and insular. That said, I’m a huge fan of local writing communities. You never know what may happen when you get to know your fellow writers. For example, Anthony-award winning author Johnny Shaw sent me a note out of the blue a few weeks back. He invited me to participate in the Pacific Northwest’s first Noir at the Bar. These casual get-togethers of mystery readers, writers, and lovers occur in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
I know Johnny from around — he’s funny as hell — and he thought of me because he needed a girl. That’s it. I get to participate for that simple reason. Do I care that he doesn’t know much about my writing? Nope. Not at all. We can’t know all about every writer’s writing — impossible. But he knew me from around, and that was good enough.
This is a lesson I keep relearning: It’s about putting yourself out there, even in the tiniest ways your introverted self can manage. It’s not as if I attend every get together of every local group, but I do rotate through and stay in touch the best I can. Whatever way you do it, serendipity will meet you along the way. I really believe this.
Look at my name on the announcement, there among a stellar list of established novelists. That’s serendipity right there.