I recently announced that I'm expecting a baby in August, which was met by a wonderful and overwhelming flood of kind notes and congratulations. It also triggered a few questions which weren’t entirely unexpected—such as if I'd be giving the baby a "vampire name" or buying the baby "vampire clothing."
What's intriguing to me about this is how personal an author's work becomes in the eyes of many, more so than other jobs. No one suggested I get baby clothes with the Microsoft Windows logo on them, in honor of my husband's employer. And when my brother (who works at Pfizer) and his wife were expecting, no one asked if they were going to name the baby Rogaine.
An author's job is perceived differently, and I think there's probably good reason for that. My brother doesn't need to decorate with pill capsules or consume all the drugs he manufactures in order to do his job well. There isn't an attachment there. But, I can say with certainty that the worst things I've ever written were scenes where I just wasn't emotionally invested in the content. The best scenes I’ve created--in the eyes of others too, not just me--were those in which I just loved everything that happened. I could feel the action and the characters' emotions. That connection translated to good writing.
Now, does that love of what I'm writing equate to an obsession with vampires in my personal life that trumps all other interests? Eh, not so much. I really don’t relish the thought of getting an all-black wardrobe for my child or doing a bat-themed nursery. (Actually, if I could do the nursery in fluffy, pastel-colored bats, I might be on board with that). My point is that there's a line here. The content of what I write doesn't have to consume all of my waking interests, but my heart definitely has to be in what I'm writing. The day I'm indifferent toward the urban fantasy/paranormal genre is the day I need to switch it up and starting writing Scottish historicals.
So, my questions are: what are others' experiences with this? Are you a writer (or do you know of a writer) who actually dislikes the subject matter but writes about it anyway? Is it possible? Fellow urban fantasy peeps, do you find yourselves owning (either through gifts or your own acquisition) copious amounts of demon and zombie accessories? Are you constantly associated with what you write? And perhaps most importantly, am I dismissing this vampire baby theme too quickly? Because that picture's pretty cute...