So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye…

by Michelle Gagnon

Back in July of 2008, the lovely Kathryn Lilley first contacted me

about joining a group blog composed of like minded authors. Originally, there were six of us: Kathryn, John T. Gilstrap, Joe Moore, Clare, John Ramsey Miller, and myself. Sundays, we hosted guest bloggers, starting with Tim Maleeny, Alafair, Burke, and David Hewson. 

I confess to getting a little misty as I scrolled back through our early posts. Over the past nearly half a decade, we’ve held forth on everything from the craft of writing, our favorite books and films, and a multitude of other subjects (some more random than others). We’ve critiqued numerous fantastic works in progress, and gotten to know some of our regular commenters so well that frequently as I’m reading a post, I’m already anticipating how Basil Sands will weigh in on it (entertainingly, as always). This has become a family, in so many ways. 

Most of you haven’t seen behind the curtain. There has occasionally been controversy, when some of us disagreed on whether or not a particular post was right for TKZ (the debates were sometimes heated, although they always remained respectful). We’ve empathized and supported one another through illness and loss. We’ve become a community that I am so proud to be a part of.

And over the years we’ve added other wonderfully talented novelists to our ranks; each of them has brought something to the table, adding their own insights and thoughtful commentary. The addition of Boyd, Nancy, PJ, Joe Hartlaub, Mark, Jim, and of course my every-other-Thursday counterpart Jordan, has gone a long way toward making this daily shout into the wilderness required reading. Some of our posts have been referenced by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Our average daily hits have grown from under a hundred at the outset to an average of a thousand a day, and we’ve passed the one million mark for all time pageviews. We were also recently recognized by Writer’s Digest as one of the “Top 101 sites for Writers,” which has been immensely satisfying. I’m humbled to have been part of something that has proven so successful, and that has hopefully helped other writers navigate the minefields of the publishing industry. And personally, I love that our all time most popular post was Clare‘s, “Top 5 Best Sex in Literature,” (14,252 hits) followed by Jim’s aptly entitled, “Rhino Skin” (13,113). For me, that pretty much sums up the vast range of topics that we’ve covered over the years.

So it’s with great sadness that I announce that this will be my final post for The Kill Zone. Over the past five years, I’ve gone through a series of personal struggles that have changed my life irrevocably (mostly for the better, but it was a long and winding road getting there!) My career has undergone tremendous turmoil. I went from fearing that I would never get another book contract, to suddenly finding myself committed to writing three books in a year (a good problem to have, but still–overwhelming). I’m the single parent of a young child, which is immensely rewarding, but also time consuming. My daily obligations are such that something invariably always seems to fall by the wayside; too many plates spinning simultaneously, as the saying goes. In order to stay true to the spirit of this blog, I want to make sure that TKZ does not become the plate that I drop. Which means that it’s time for me to step aside.

I’ll miss you all–but will be stopping by regularly, as a commenter this time. 

Side note: I released a Young Adult standalone thriller this past Tuesday with SoHo Press. It’s called STRANGELETS, and marks a departure for me. I credit TKZ with pushing me out of my comfort zone–so many of the posts here have expanded my horizons as a writer, and convinced me to challenge myself. So this is my first attempt at true world building, in a dystopian alternate universe. I hope you’ll consider giving it a read.

And I do hope to stop in occasionally with guest posts, if they’ll still have me! 

Best,

Michelle

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