It’s an interesting year for me. Like last year, I’m busy working with publishers to reissue more of the highlights from my back list.
I’m also looking to sell some future titles with other publishers. And I have a few projects on the go.
The thing is, they’re all on wildly different things. Back in the 1990s and early 2000s I was still on my history jag, following where that path led into military history, then social history.
That’s since evolved. I don’t rule out more history – you never say never. But I’ve been actively looking at returning to the writing I was originally trained to do – fiction. And at returning to the field I originally trained in, science. Among my other qualifications I have an undergrad degree in anthropology, which is a ‘soft science’; and I did physics throughout, including winning a regional science prize, as a teenager, for a display I put together on Einsteinian space-time and black holes (I am NOT Sheldon, OK?).
Pursuing that line I’ve already written a book on the science of New Zealand earthquakes, published with Penguin Random House (it was peer-reviewed, in part, by New Zealand’s chief seismologist). A sci-fi novella I penned is out now in the first Endless Worlds compilation. And there’s more coming.
All of it is a consequence of me following my nose into areas that I find interesting or challenging – the thing being that once I’ve mastered something it usually loses appeal and start wondering about the next challenge. I have no interest in the ‘status-by-association’ focus that leads other people down ever-narrower aspects of a single field. But that also leaves me with a bit of a branding issue, particularly if – in fairness to myself and publishers – I go all-out to keep promoting the back list.
Certainly here in New Zealand, you see – and I guess worldwide, really – people inevitably get labelled with whatever they are known for, as if they are incapable of anything else. People who do branch out get treated as if they won’t be expert at the new field; or as if it’s an admission of being an all-round amateur. Very few are accepted as multi-field experts. (A friend once described me as a polymath, though I don’t think of myself as such – everything I do is related to the one thing: me being nosey about interesting stuff).
I’m playing with various ideas about how to deal with it – but I thought I’d also check with my blogging friends. Any ideas or thoughts?
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016