Webb's Blog

Read the first chapter of THE PUFFIN OF DEATH at


Monday, May 11, 2009

Inspiration for Writers

Writing is hard. The more we write, the more we realize that.

In recognition of the special challenges we writers must face every day -- fear of rejection, fear of not being understood, and most of all, fear that the words and ideas simply won’t come -- I’ve decided to weekly post words of encouragement both from me and from others. Enjoy, and take heart.

"Writing is a path as full of darkness as it is of light, and so the way ahead is hard to see. There are so many ominous shadows, unpredictable gusts of wind, unexpected blinding shafts of sunlight. It’s easy to get lost, to trip over our own hidden roots, or plunge unaware into unexplored caverns in our psyche. As writers, we hardly ever know exactly where we’re going. The only thing that most of us know how to do is deep putting one foot after the other in the darkness and trust that eventually we’ll get there." From Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers, by Susan Shaughnessy

"When the well’s dry, we know the worth of the writer." Benjamin Franklin

"How do I work? I grope." Albert Einstein

Three years ago, exhausted from the horrific research that went into my 2008 Lena Jones novel, Desert Cut, I decided to take a time out and write something considerably lighter. Thus emerged The Anteater of Death, a humorous mystery set in a zoo that featured Lucy, a giant anteater from Belize, and her keeper, poor-little-rich-girl, Theodora "Teddy" Iona Esmeralda Bentley. I didn’t really expect much from the book other than the fun of writing it, but Anteater has taken on a life of its own.

Anteater was released in November 2008, and since then, I’ve toured the Southwest and given talks on both the writing life and -- yes -- giant anteaters and other zoo animals. The reading public seems to have taken Lucy to heart, so much so that this past weekend The Anteater of Death was awarded Best Mystery Novel of 2008 by the Arizona Book Publishing Association.

At first I was shocked. Anteater wasn't about anything important, other than "Be kind to animals," and "Support your local zoo; feeding all those animals doesn't come cheap." But then, after I thought about it for a while, I found the answer.

In these financially scary times, people want a little relaxation. When we don’t know if our paycheck will arrive with a pink slip, we need something that lets us escape from our anxieties. And while I’m not decrying the heavy subjects my Lena Jones books explore (polygamy, mental illness, child abuse, the destruction of the Southwestern desert, etc.), I understand that books often dismissed as mere "cozies" serve an important place in this world.

Maybe more now than ever before.

For information on Anteater,check www.bettywebb-zoomystery.com

For information on the Lena Jones mysteries, check www.bettywebb-mystery.com

1 comment:

F. M. Meredith, author said...

Good thoughts. Thank you, and as I said, anxious to read your new book.

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith