How to Succeed in Business

The truth is he can’t sing particularly well; he’s a so-so dancer; his comic timing is off; and as an aside, I had no idea he was that short.

So why did I leap to my feet at the end of the show to give Daniel Radcliffe and the cast of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying a standing ovation? Because the finale was a show-stopper and most of all, because I was in awe of the risk this 21-year-old kid had taken.

Sure it’s easy to try something different and risk failure when you’re a gazillionaire, but this was putting himself “out there” in a very public way and nobody, not even gazillionaires, likes bad reviews.

After seven, going on eight, Harry Potter movies, the chance of being typecast is basically a sure thing. But in the last 18 months, Daniel Radcliffe has deliberately chosen to project a new image and expose himself literally in Equus, as well as figuratively. He made a conscious decision to reinvent the public persona that his role in the blockbuster movies has made.

All of which gave this author pause. It’s easy, as you age, to become risk averse. Stick to what you know and what you know will sell.

Write a successful cozy. Write another one.

Heck, even simpler. Serve a recipe that’s worked for the past 20 years – and never bother to change the menu. Jalapeno peppers? Never bought one. Have no clue what I would do if I did.

But there I was, in the darkened Al Hirschfeld Theater, just steps from the gleaming lights of Broadway, and I pondered, for a change, not How to Succeed in the mystery business, but how to shake things up and change on a bigger, pardon the pun, stage.

As Goethe told us: “The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.”

I’ve been in a comfort zone when it comes to writing. It’s time to take some risk. I made a start when Rhonda convinced me to write the Brianna Sullivan series. I didn’t like, to be honest was afraid of, the paranormal. But exploring the world of ghosts has made the world of the living all the more exciting and fun. Next up is a series of short stories about love and romance. Should be published in e-book formats in the next week. If they sell, wonderful. If they don’t, I have no regrets. I tried.

And that’s how it should be. The point is not whether Daniel Radcliffe or I succeed. What’s important is that we walked out there and risked failure. As T.S. Eliot wrote, “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”

Marian, in search of Jalapeno Pepper for dinner

Brianna Sullivan Mysteries – e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- KindleNookSmashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords

The Sullivan Investigation Series
Murder Drops the Ball (Spring 2011)
Murder Takes the Cake- PaperbackKindle
Murder Off the Books- PaperbackKindle
Riley Come Home (short story)- KindleNookSmashwords

Love Lessons – KindleNookSmashwords

5 replies
  1. Author Peg Herring
    Author Peg Herring says:

    I so agree, Marian! Added to what you say, there is the whole publishing industry telling you that you must BRAND yourself and write (only) what your readers expect. I hope my readers expect a good mystery, whatever the subgenre!
    Last month, I blogged here about my paranormal, THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY. Release has been set back to April 1, so any readers who got excited about it in February will have to wait for it. Sorry, authors have no control over such things, but I can tell you it is worth the wait (IMHO :>)

  2. The Stiletto Gang
    The Stiletto Gang says:

    Thanks Peg. Sorry about the delay for THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY — but the wait will be well worth it! Good Luck!

  3. Dea, Kia, Jake
    Dea, Kia, Jake says:

    This post really spoke to me, Marian. Thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts on sticking to what you know. I'm going to heed your advice. 🙂 Maggie

  4. Susan McBride
    Susan McBride says:

    Marian, it's funny because I feel like I've become more risk averse in my personal life and more of a risk-taker in my writing life! Fun post with a great message! 🙂

  5. The Stiletto Gang
    The Stiletto Gang says:

    Thanks Maggie and Susan. I think I'm going to like this risk stuff 🙂

    I want to feel the adrenaline rush I experienced when my first book was published. I am getting a taste of that as I try new genres — the romance and paranormal in fiction; the biography I wrote for my nonfiction career.

    Thanks again to all for the support and encouragement.

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