My latest book, released earlier this year, is a historical thriller. This means I've now published oral histories, an illustrated children's book, a middle-grade nonfiction book, two novels set in Florida in the early 1960s - and a historical novel/thriller set in 1916 about a rogue shark that upended the Jersey Shore.
I was scared to write a thriller. I was scared to write about a great white shark. But I did it anyway.
The pacing is different in a thriller. The book has to move forward with the speed of light. There were other challenges as well.
Why did I do it? Because I wanted to write in a way that was new to me. I wanted to remember what it was like to try something for the first time.
I've never been content with staying in my lane, so to speak. As a newspaper reporter early in my career, my favorite beat was general assignment. When you tell people that you were a general assignment reporter, they don't really get it. For some reason, they think it sounds boring or routine. It is the opposite, however. You have to be able to cover any story at a moment's notice. You might be sent to a board meeting of a public hospital or to a press conference given by a city police chief. You might be dispatched to cover a court case, perhaps filling in for a reporter who had been following the case for weeks or even months. You have to land on your feet.
I like a challenge.
I don't know what I'm going to write next. And that, to me, is part of the adventure.
The best things in life happen when we embrace risk. It's when we take chances that we find out who we really are. When we stay in our safe places, comforted by routine, our senses become dulled, and we never have the experience of flying high.