Art & Soul
Carolyn Parsons talks about luck
In February I won a trip for two to Toronto to see my favourite singer, Jim Cuddy, at Massey Hall on Valentine’s Day, as well as $500 spending money. Wasn’t that lucky?
I was so excited and, yes, we went to Toronto and had a blast. When I won, congratulations came from every direction. Many advised me to buy lottery tickets because of my incredible good luck!
The dictionary describes luck as “events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual.” Surely that applied to winning this trip right? I was on the good side of lucky and it felt great.
When Candace Osmond said, “I’m very lucky,” as she settled in to tell me about her full-time writing career however, it didn’t quite mesh with what I understood about the concept.
The prolific Fogo Islandraised author started her first book in her late teens. After years of “picking away at it,” she completed and published it at 25 and now at 32, book number 12 will be released on Sept. 24.
During our conversation she described her jam-packed workload, which is divided between writing her novels, contributing to several magazines and online publications, and as an independent author she is also fully responsible for advertising and publishing her books.
“Paranormal fantasy romance is the genre I like to hang around in,” she says, though she has dabbled in the thriller genre. She mainly writes series, with her first being the trilogy “Iron and Wine” and her most recent, “The Dark Tides” series.
Hanging around sounds so easy, but writing books that start as a trilogy, and grow into a series of four books, as her latest project did, is no simple task.
“There is a point that writers reach when writing where the story just starts writing itself,” she explains.
Aside from the hours of work required to create a book and publish it, there is a strategy to her success that includes targeted marketing, participating in collections that involves multiple authors doing joint marketing in order to qualify for the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists (she is coreleasing an ebook collection called “Rite to Reign” along with other authors in December that is specifically designed to target the bestseller lists).
Back to the idea of luck. The dictionary definition implies it’s a mysterious force, something beyond our influence. Yet even the trip that I won, against huge odds, was dependent upon my decision, impulsive as it was, to enter the contest.
Ernest Hemingway said, “For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.”
What? Seriously Ernie? Not great talent but rather with great luck? I beg to differ.
“The Old Man and the Sea” percolated in Hemingway’s brain for well over a decade before he brilliantly crafted it into what has long been considered his greatest work. I don’t think luck had a single thing to do with it.
Be proud Candace, as you complete (lucky?) year seven of your writing career. You work hard and deserve your success.
Meanwhile, I confess that I think the concept of luck is nothing more than a useful fallacy to hide behind. If things go wrong, blame it on bad luck. The problem is that this prevents an artist from ever having to delve into the reality of why something failed, in order to learn from it. Conversely, if someone is fortunate they can claim they were simply lucky and hide from the discomfort of immodesty and again, learn nothing from their success.
There is an adage that luck is preparation meeting opportunity. No magic there, just roll up your sleeves, create your art and share it. That’s the only way successful people get lucky.
Find out more about Candace Osmond at www.authorcandaceosmond.com.