Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a girl, twenty years old but still very young, and that girl loved the books of the Harry Potter series. One of her two roommates got her interested in reading fan fiction, and then in writing it, and one day a thought came to the girl. What if, somehow, Harry could have had a family?
The girl intended this story to be brief. She would sketch out what might have been in a few short chapters, and then return to her more serious, canon-based fic. But the characters, and the possibilities, of this world caught her mind and her heart on fire. Some nights she would stay up typing until 3 AM, until her other roommate threatened to drop a large textbook on her head if she didn't go to sleep.
So it began, O readers, ten years ago, when I was a junior in college, juggling a major in theater, three choirs and private voice lessons, the intention of becoming a primary school teacher, and my mother's recent serious illness, which had brought home to me all the more strongly how lucky I was to have my wonderful and loving family. I couldn't resist giving Harry and Hermione, and later Draco and Sirius's daughter Meghan, that same kind of love, from Remus Lupin and Sirius Black, from Sirius's wife Aletha and Remus's wife Danger, and the first three stories of the Dangerverse came thick and fast.
But then came the lean years. I struggled through a semester of grad school in the fall and winter of 2006 before realizing that teaching wasn't for me. At that point, I had a brief spell of panic, because I'd never really thought about what else I might want to do with my life. Then I looked back at my computer, at the hours of chats with DV fans, at the thousands of reviews I was receiving, and it dawned on me. Not only did I want to be a writer, I already was one. I just had to figure out how to make it pay.
I knew that wouldn't happen overnight, so I went out and found work to keep myself afloat. Some of my life choices worked, others didn't, but I never starved. The pace of updates slowed, sometimes considerably (who remembers the eight-month wait for Facing Danger to update?), but I never quite gave up on the DV, or on writing originals, though they weren't always good originals. Though I do happen to think... but that comes later.
Now, at last, after more than ten years, I can look at the Dangerverse as a completed body of work. It's not perfect. A lot of the early portions, and even quite a bit of the later stuff, makes me want to cringe with how raw and clunky it is, or with choices I'd never make today. And yet... and yet every word, every sentence, was a step on the journey. I may be embarrassed by some of them, but I can't know how things would change if I hadn't taken them. So I'll fight not to be ashamed.
I have, of course, written other fan fiction works while I was continuing with the Dangerverse. Be Careful is easily the longest of those, and yes, I know I've been promising a sequel to that almost since I finished it. Maybe now I'll actually be able to do it. There's also The Lion, the Snake, and the Safe Room, my Narnia crossover, which maybe I can work on, and a few other assorted fanfic goodies, including my Frozen fic...
So the answer to the question of, will I continue writing now that the Dangerverse is done, is that it's more a question of, could I stop writing. And the answer is no. I don't know if I was born a writer, but I do know that I am a writer, and that I will always be a writer. Whether I'm a good writer or not, O readers, whether I'm a worthwhile writer or not, only you can say. And many of you have said in the past, with a fair degree of vehemence, and on both sides of the argument.
However. If you do happen to think I'm a good and worthwhile writer, and if you have only read the Dangerverse and would like some more Anne B. Walsh writing right now, may I humbly recommend my original works? I have written three novels, all of which I have tried to keep reasonable in price, and all of which can be read on e-readers, tablets, phones, or computers, or ordered in print if you prefer that.
My first novel is a historical fantasy entitled A Widow in Waiting, my second is a family-focused fairy tale retelling (with elements of the DV) called Homecoming, and my third is a soft sci-fi exploration of what it means to be human, Killdeer. I've also done a short story collection called Cat Tales and two holiday specials, with a third to come this November, and I will be pulling together the Fiction Friday tales from right here on the blog to go out in e-book form as well.
I have promised, a couple of times, that I would make my originals available for a reduced price, or even for free, to celebrate the completion of the Dangerverse. Please be aware that I can only do so through indie e-publisher Smashwords, and that you will need to sign up for an account there to use these coupon codes. I promise, they won't charge you fees, and you can use either a credit card or a PayPal account if you see books you want to purchase.
So, here are the codes, with their only restriction that they expire a year from today (that is, they're good until October 31, 2015). Feel free to share them around if you like. Good writing should always be shared. If you really can't afford to pay anything, I do understand, and all I can say is, stick around... the DV quiz to win FREE Anne originals should be ready within about a week!
In many languages, there is a distinction between "goodbye for a while" and "goodbye forever". While I must, with sorrow, say goodbye forever to the Dangerverse, it is only goodbye for a while to writing, and that while is going to be a very short one, given that National Novel Writing Month project, tomorrow. Follow my progress here, and check back right here on Anne's Randomness for snippets every Fiction Friday!
But for those of you who just wanted to see how it ended, who think you've had enough, well, then, I guess this is goodbye. Thank you for everything you have given me, and all the best in your journeys onward.
For the rest of you... hold on tight. We're only getting started.
"Your heart feels it's flying, your head feels it's spinning,
"Each happy ending's a brand new beginning!"
-- Carrie Underwood, "Ever Ever After"