I’m in a blog tour for Haunted by Magic (yes, I know, you’re not surprised, I need to shut up about this set, I’m blowing up your email and newsfeed, etc. Hey, have you preordered yet?) But that’s not what this post is about.
For my “Guest Post” for this tour, I decided to compile my favorite witchy mystery series and tie-in The Witch’s Brew (from Jingle Spells). I thought, what a cute idea to tie in a book I can offer for free and rave about books I love, because it’s all cozy mysteries!
Of course, I’m such an avid reader, I have to read the book descriptions to make sure I’m referencing the right characters and worlds. Gods forbid I use the wrong name for the wrong series because I’m a crazy person. So I get through Juliet Blackwell (my FAVE omgawd), and Heather Blake (SO AMAZING), and move on to Madelyn Alt. Suddenly, I’m reminded of something I already knew–
Surprisingly, lots of authors disappear without a trace. Often, someone nosy digs deep enough to find out that they passed away. Or someone finally tracks down the author to find they’ve “retired” (which is so bizarro to me – I can’t imagine retiring from something that doesn’t feel like a job.)
But sometimes, the disappearing author is just… gone.
That’s what’s happened to Madelyn Alt. A quick scroll through her Facebook feed shows five years of people posting to ask where she is and why the announced 8th book in her popular Bewitching Mysteries was never released. Her last public comment was in September 2012, and the last time she posted publicly was when she changed her cover photo in August 2012 – to her book covers.
Her last blog post was at the release of the 7th Bewitching mystery in April 2012. In September of 2012, she responded to a comment on this post – that’s the last activity on her site. Her last tweet also took place in April 2012, and it appears she tweeted on a regular basis, so her sudden disappearance seems all the more apocalyptic.
Goodreads is all aghast on the unreleased book’s page. Even the reviews of her books on Amazon ask the
burning question everyone is dying to know:
What happened to Madelyn Alt?
One of her last blog posts on The Majickal Life, a blog she shared with two friends, took place February 4, 2012. She wraps it up with this:
So, that’s how I’m working today on conjuring a balance in my life. Because there is more to creativity than just sitting in front of a computer in isolation for hours on end every day. Creativity needs tactile and colorific experiences to maintain its health. So do we all!
Love to all and wishing you warm spring blessings,
Nothing has ever been publicly declared regarding Madelyn’s whereabouts. Maybe she passed. Maybe she quit for health reasons. I’d like to think if I died, my husband and family would think it important to tell my fans because they know how important my books are to me.
Then again… who’s business is it really?
I love her series. Madelyn is a phenomenal writer, and digging around on her website, I feel like she’s the kind of girl who could be a friend. We’re similar, her and me: she’s a self-professed intuitive, while I’m a strong empath who can’t handle more than an hour’s worth of human contact. She loves the paranormal and occult, which hello, me. She’s a redhead with a vibrant personality.
So here’s what I’ve got to add to this weird little vanishing soap opera of Madelyn Alt:
it’s fucking hard to live in this world under the weight of a creative and intuitive mind. Add to that the intense pressure everyone around you adds, and you can want desperately to disappear.
The pressure can get to a girl. I’m small potatoes, but I field at least one email/Facebook message a week asking after sequels I’ve yet to finish. I can’t imagine the deluge Madelyn receives, considering her success in publishing. And we don’t know what happened to her; we don’t know what she’s dealing with, what monumental thing forced her to disappear from the writing world.
Maybe if I were a little less outspoken, everyone wouldn’t know that I’m a hot mess who can barely make her life work. I’m just one girl who works full time at a library in PR/Marketing, runs a freelance business, and still has to sleep sometime while writing and publishing and marketing. For the past two years, writing
hasn’t been the priority. It can’t be. My job pays the bills in a way writing never will. I’m slowly turning people away on my business in the hope I can move my energies completely to writing, but it’s glacial. Until the business is shut down, writing will continue to suffer. And the stress of trying to balance what amounts to three different careers often saps me of all creativity. I’ve never made my battle with mental illness secret – it’s as much a part of me as writing. Most days, it’s difficult to get moving, to find the energy to function, much less be creative.
And still, despite my candor, people will continue to ask me why I haven’t finished X book and not accept my “excuses.”
I understand the need to breathe. Maybe it was easier for Madelyn Alt to vanish – step away from everything publishing and move on with her life. Five years after her disappearance, fans still post to her Facebook page asking where she is and why the latest book never came out. There are even a few heated exchanges demanding answers, as if because they purchased her books, they are owed an explanation.
It’s nobody’s business but Madelyn’s. She doesn’t owe the world her books, nor does she owe the world an explanation. Whatever massive upheaval took place in her life to make her cut and run is between her and the universe, and quite frankly, readers need to chill the fuck out. There are many days I would like to vanish completely and stop explaining myself when someone asks me why I haven’t released a book they’re waiting for. There’s no clever way to spin “I’m a basketcase on two different anti-depressants, and while I live and breathe writing, it doesn’t come easy under the world stretched heavy across my shoulders.”
Don’t get me wrong – any author who truly knows her readers are her lifeblood will continue to smile and say “It’s not finished yet, but I’m trying!” five thousand times until the book is finally done. Pop the champagne, throw some glitter, and throw herself into the next one to respond the same question about a different book another five thousand times. Because YES I WANT people to want my books! I want people to reach out and say I JUST FINISHED WICCAN WARS ERMAGERD WHERE IS BOOK TWO I’M DYING because it proves to me that I am a good writer, that I am on the right path, however slow I might be walking it.
When I smile and say “It’s not finished yet – hopefully soon!” I hope my readers can appreciate the battle I fight to finish those stories. I put on my armor every morning and I trudge through fourteen-hour days, non-stop, instead of packing my shit and disappearing like a thief in the night.
The world needs a little more patience, a little more understanding, and a lot more compassion. I am guilty of being self-absorbed. Sometimes, I’m reminded that we have to force ourselves to step outside that bubble of selfishness and envision life in someone else’s shoes.
Wherever Madelyn Alt is right now, I wish her all the greatest blessings of abundance and joy.