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Being a writer has been a part of my identity since before I had an identity. I've never had any sudden adversities, because I spent so much time researching, coming to conclusions, acting on them, that it all felt very fluid. Probably the toughest thing has been balancing it with my romantic life.

My fiance refused to read my writing for years, because she wanted me to have a safe place to work things through, even about her. Once she started reading, we realized that she was just as capable as every professional editor I've worked with, and far more capable than most of them. I've shamelessly used her talents since then. While I was writing my first published novel, Whores, she acted as my research assistant, and due to the upsetting subject matter, we spent several months distant from each other. The world we saw shaping, the world she saw me shaping in the WIP, it caused us to view each other as potential threats. Especially her, since the things we were researching were things that made her feel particularly victimized.

We've been together for years, and there was no rational reason for why she'd stiffen when I stepped into the room, or any of the little hostile things that happened between the unusually forceful political debates. She's been with me through death in the family, unemployment, sickness, and nothing has stressed or separated us the way that that novel did. She'd read five other finished drafts of novels, without anything remotely resembling that vulnerability. Finishing that first draft was a huge relief... It pulled this giant weight off my shoulders, and I realized that we'd created those tensions by steeping ourselves in the worst of the world, and I didn't want that distance between us again. I sent it to her to edit with my marriage proposal in the dedication.
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