For Day 16 of the Open Mic Creativity and COVID-19 Special Project I chat with historical mystery author Erica Obey. We touched on how she is staying creative during this time, what she’s reading in her spare time and how this whole thing might play out for indie authors.
OM: We’ve all been hit by this pandemic in some way. This whole situation has been so scary and unsettling. I’m a statehouse reporter so I’m immersed in the politics of it all day long, which has been leaving me absolutely drained at the end of the day. How has it impacted your life?
Obey: We’ve been in Woodstock, NY, for a month now, ever since my husband was asked to work from home. So we’re finally relaxing into not panicking every time we need to clear our throats. Instead, we’re trying to accept that (at least for now) we’re incredibly lucky, and that paying it forward is a lot more useful than guilt. As president of the MWA-NY Chapter, I am working hard (alongside a dedicated Board) to create virtual book tours for our members who have had books published during March and April. We’re also looking to partner with indie bookstores to host these launches and fulfill sales on line in order to support them as well.
OM: How are you managing your creativity during this time? Have you had more time to write than before? If so, are you able to take advantage of it?
Obey: It’s been a little difficult adjusting my schedule to my husband’s. Still, I’m lucky that this all landed when I was in a fallow moment: One manuscript was already out with my current editors; a second, very different one, ready to send out after nearly two years’ work. So, a perfect time to screw around with short stories and the craziest ideas in the back of my head without worrying overmuch about word counts and deadlines.
OM: What other creativity – books, movies, etc – are you taking in? Is it helping your own inspiration any?
Obey: Oh, total comfort reads. I’m a vintage book collector with a room full of unread Phyllis A. Whitney, P.G. Wodehouse, and John Dickson Carr that I’m working my way through. I far prefer binge-reading to binge-watching.
OM: What do you think this will do to the publishing industry? Are you concerned things will get even harder for writers than they are now?
Obey: Actually, as an Indie-published author, I think this may be the Indies’ moment. The Big Five have incredible overhead that small presses do not have. I hope everyone recovers and regroups soon, but I think the Indie pubs might be better set to react in a tough market.
OM: Have you got any new projects we can tell folks about?
Obey: I have a Woodstock-set historical mystery with a magical edge coming out from Amphorae Publishing in Spring, 2021. I’m also shopping around a new series about a female programmer and an AI bot that writes and solves mysteries. You can find a sneak peek on my website, here.