In December of last year I was gifted with a brand new agent and my first ever publishing deal. This was pretty much the best Christmas present ever. It also meant that at New Year’s I was waiting on editorial comments for BETWEEN, and beginning to write Book Two, now affectionately known as WAKEWORLD.
The days have flown by, and now here we are again, ready to ring in 2013. WAKEWORLD is off to my editor and I’m waiting for the editorial letter and inevitable revisions. In the meantime, I have a brand new book in the planning and early writing stages of development.
A pattern is developing, and I like it. What better way to begin a brand new year, than with a brand new book?
As the clock struck 12 last year, I was at my desk, writing. Some of you might think that is sad, and wonder whether I have any friends or any one at all who loves me, and if so why on earth would I be at home writing on New Year’s Eve. Well, I do have people who love me, although I confess the party invitations are few, so you can set your mind at ease.
The idea of welcoming the New Year while engaging in an activity that is at the top of my priority list appeals to me. I don’t intend to spend the next year partying. I do intend to spend it writing. And so, again this year, I plan to begin as I mean to go on. A few of my online writer friends have expressed an interest in joining me for a New Year’s Eve Write In. Feel free to join in if you wish! Snacks and drinks are your own responsibility of course, so make sure you’ve got good ones!
Writer, reader, or casual bystander, wherever you are and whatever you find yourself doing when we click over to 2013 – I wish you the grace and strength to pursue your own dreams this year. And just a touch of magic to help them come true.
From the 2013 Debs…
Deb Kerry is totally excited to announce that there will be a Goodreads giveaway of BETWEEN starting on January 31st!
Deb Dana received a box on xmas eve from her UK publisher, filled with 10 copies of the UK version of her book!
Deb Amy reports that her parents have read THE GLASS WIVES even while standing in the rain and snow!
Deb Dish – When in the writing process did you know what your next writing project would be?
Deb Amy: I had ideas all along that I worked on during downtime with The Glass Wives. None of them are what I’m actually working on now, but I think they all led me in the right direction!
Deb Dana: As I worked on book #1, I also worked a bit at the farmers’ market to make a little extra cash, and some of what I encountered there inspired book #2 .
Deb Kerry: When I got signed for a two book contract, it became clear that the next book I’d be working on would be the sequel to BETWEEN. Before that, I was working on my geriatric vampire novel. I need to get back to it soon – he’s getting impatient, and that won’t end well.
Your Turn!! If you write, how far in advance does your next project pick you? If you read: how far in advance do you pick the next book off the “to be read” pile?
**Remember you can comment for a chance to win a free book by our guest author of the week**
Leigh Evans was born in Montreal, Quebec but now lives in Southern Ontario with her husband. She’s raised two kids, mothered three dogs, and herded a few cats. Other than that, her life was fairly routine until she hit the age of 50. Some women get tattoos. Leigh decided to write a book. A little tardy, but then again, her Mum always said she was a late bloomer.
We are thrilled to have Leigh here with us today. THE TROUBLE WITH FATE is the first in a dynamite new series, which debuts December 24, 2012!
“Her first time at bat, Leigh Evans has hit one out of the park. THE TROUBLE WITH FATE is the perfect mix of romance and action, with characters you can’t help but root for and a twist that had me squealing with surprise. Evans offers a brilliant new take on fairies, werewolves, and magic … I am officially addicted’”
— Chloe Neill
Welcome Leigh! Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
I’m sitting in the hair colourist’s chair as I type, laptop balanced on my knee. My reading glasses have slipped to the end of my nose, I’m wearing a black cape, and I’ve got about 3 pounds of goop applied to my roots. I am happy beyond words that none of the Debutant Ball’s visitors can actually see me.
Where do you love to be?
With my kids. I don’t care if we’re watching television together, driving through city traffic, buying groceries, exchanging heated words or choking back laughter at lunch. Nothing I’ll ever do in my life will mean as much to me as the fact that I raised two kids who are kind, strong, and brave.
What three things would you want with you if stranded on a desert island?
Functioning GPS, a sound boat and a sailor.
What time of day do you love best?
My favourite time of day has changed over my life.
When I was the beleaguered teenager, I used to love that hour in bed before I fell asleep. No one could say anything to hurt my oh-so-fragile feelings. No one could tell me what I needed to do. (Finish your homework, take out the trash, pick up those clothes!) I was free to think whatever I wanted, for as long as I wanted, until I drifted off to sleep.
But by the time I hit my early twenties, I was a fan of the wee small hours of the morning. Yes, Leigh Evans had discovered the party life and that girl loved Montreal after the bars had closed. My best friend Nancy and I would drove to the mountain’s lookout. There we’d sit, feet up on the dash, eating oven-hot bagels, watching the city lights twinkle as we talked over the evening.
By the time I was hip-deep in diapers, I’d turned into a big fan of those early mornings when my babies smelled of sleep and sweetness (well, once I’d cleaned them up). Some Saturdays, we’d sneak back to the big bed, and just waste time snuggling.
But like everything else, that didn’t last. Life spun into the decade of the sunburn and the bird feeders. I was all about the sunshine hours, where I could tend to my roses, and plant my seedlings.
And now? I like all of the times of the day. I like dawn’s pink sky. I like walking through the ravine at prime dog walking hours—greeting the regulars, listening to the trees move in the wind. And sometimes at night, I find myself standing at the window, looking upward. Some evenings, there are stars, and sometimes there are clouds.
But all of it is beautiful.
Share something that’s always guaranteed to make you smile.
A short dog with a big attitude.
Thanks for joining us Leigh, and best of luck with the launch of THE TROUBLE WITH FATE.
If you’re interested in learning more about Leigh, visit her website or say hi on Facebook. You can also follow her on Twitter, where she is @leighevans001. And if you’d like a chance to read her work for free, comment below! One lucky commenter will win a free copy of THE TROUBLE WITH FATE!
When my son was young, the end credits to “Lamb Chop’s Play Along” featured The Song That Doesn’t End. Not surprisingly, he loved it.
More surprisingly, I happen to love it too.
For those not acquainted with this little gem:
(My apologies to anyone who actually clicked it. You’ll now be singing it for weeks.)
I love the song for its childlike denial of endings. If the song never ends, the fun will continue forever.
Good books are like that too. When a story captures my imagination, I want it to keep on going and the ending is bittersweet. I’m glad the characters reached a closure but saddened to leave them behind. Even with series novels, I have to wait for the next installment to see what my favorite “imaginary friends” are up to.
Not surprisingly, my novel CLAWS OF THE CAT is the first of a series. Somewhat more surprising is that the Shinobi Mystery series already extends at least fifteen books in rough outline, and could go even longer that that. Each of my primary characters has an extensive backstory and also a future arc – but very, very little of that shows up in the novels themselves. My goal for each book is to give you a slice of Hiro and Father Mateo’s ongoing lives in a fascinating and dangerous time and place. Curiously, it was easier to write the first novel (and in it, to foreshadow things that will happen in later books) because I know where my characters came from and where they are going.
CLAWS OF THE CAT is a stand-alone work but also a slice of Hiro’s life , which meant “The End” was not goodbye. I started writing book 2 (BLADE OF THE SAMURAI) less than a month after finishing the final draft of CLAWS – and speaking as a series addict, it felt great not to have to wait for the next installment!
Each book in the series features new murders, new suspects, and new surroundings (much of BLADE takes place in the Shogun’s palace) but in another sense writing a series is a bit like Lamb Chop’s song – the fun never has to end.
What’s your favorite fiction series? Do you miss your favorite characters between installments?
Trust me when I tell you—you’re going to want to sit down for this one.
The end of The Glass Wives used to be the middle. The current ending was somewhere around the 2/3 mark. The beginning used to be page 100, and the last 1/3 of the original manuscript that landed me an agent? It no longer exists.
No wonder I have a problem with endings, huh?
I seem to know the story I want to write, but not necessary the order in which the story should be told. At least not at first. My work-in-progress is a novel about a 39-year-old, recently divorced mom, who gets tangled up in an interweb of lies and secrets through her popular blog. In my synopsis, I think I’ve already drawn out the story longer than it needs to be. But maybe that’s the way my brain works! Maybe I have to have those extra pieces at the end to really find the crux of the story to shift around. After all, a pivotal scene still in The Glass Wives is something extracted from the deleted final 1/3 of the book. It wasn’t cut and pasted, it was the idea of what was going on in the original ending that I transcribed into the rest of the current book, culminating with one of my favorite scenes. (You can ask me after you’ve read it.)
So maybe I should just let all the ideas out, and then figure out what works.
Many people write the ending first, and I’m on that bandwagon. For my WIP, I’d like the ending to occur in the fall, and I know the setting (the zoo), the characters, even some of the dialogue. For me, this knowledge allows me to insure that I work up to it slowly, leaving crumbs along the way, although not too many.
Part of the mystique of The End is that it really isn’t the end at all. The best books, for me, are the ones that allude to more going on in the pages that do not exist. I love ambiguous endings and the ones that do not answer every question. I’m not much for series or sequels, although I do enjoy a thoughtful epilogue every now and then.
One of the best lessons I learned about endings was from reading John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars. (If you haven’t read it, it’s amazing.) Without any spoilers, the two main character love the same book and its author. They are crazed to find out what happens to the characters after The End. And the author, who’s a bit of a crazy curmudgeon, tells them that nothing happens because when the book ends, the characters cease to exist.
As harsh as it was—and as angry as I was at that character, I was also all “yeah, I know what you mean, pal.”
I have not contemplated or decided or pondered what might happen to the characters of The Glass Wives after the last page. Not once. And I don’t want to, quite frankly. Their story ends with The End.
Luckily, mine does not.
See you next year, Deb friends! xo
I have never been good with endings. When I was little, and my parents took me to see Sesame Street Live, I cried for the last quarter of the show because I was so upset the experience was coming to an end. And if anyone really wanted to get me going, all they had to do was start singing the Mickey Mouse Club “Alma Mater” – “M-I-C – see you real soon!” – and I would instantly burst into tears.
Yeah. I had issues.
As I’ve aged, I haven’t necessarily gotten any better with endings. Every time I move, I get a tear in my eye when leaving my old place, and still get sad when the summer and holiday season come to an end. And when I finish a really wonderful book, I’m always a little sad the experience is over – that I’ll never be able to read that book for the first time again. (I also felt this way when I finished watching all five seasons of The Wire.)
That said, when it comes to my own writing, I love endings. I love being able to pound out that final sentence and then type the words “THE END.” There is something so liberating about those two words. They say, “I did it! I wrote a book.” Even if I know I’ll still have to revise that book ten more times.
I won’t pretend I’m particularly good at writing endings or that I always know what the ending is going to be. I remember hearing John Irving once say that he knows the last line of his books before he even starts writing them, and the whole story unfolds before him, leading to that last line.
For the record, that is not how I work. My endings often change slightly from draft to draft, taking into account other changes I’ve made to the manuscript. I like my endings to be satisfying but consistent with the story, and if I’ve made a bunch of changes that now render the original ending false or hollow, I have to change it.
So how do I know I’ve reached the “right” ending for the story? Put simply, the ending needs to feel right. With The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs, I got there. The ending is satisfying – to me, at least. It feels right. With my second book, still a work in progress, the ending feels…right-ish, but not 100 perfect. I’m still working on it.
I probably won’t ever like endings in real life (where the heck did 2012 go?????), but in my writing, I love bringing a good story to a close.
What about you? Do you like endings? Or, like me, do they always make you a little tearful?
(Oh, and happy holidays to one and all! Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope you’re spending time with friends and family today!)
Finishing something can be a very good thing. Like – when you’re six and you’ve finished your spinach so now you get ice cream. Or, you’ve finished your homework and now you can watch TV. It can also be a bad thing, like when you’ve finished the last of the ice cream or the last piece of pie. Eaten the last chocolate in the box. Just finished reading a book that was awesome, except that the character you loved most in the whole world ever is dead and there is no happy ending, for anybody, now or in the future…
Oh, sorry. Pardon me. I just finished watching a sad movie and currently hold no hope of future happiness for any of us. Don’t worry, though, it will pass and I’ll be back to my optimistic self in the morning.
As for finishing the writing of a book – for me that produces an exceptionally complicated emotional state.
For starters, a book is never really done. I know this. So when I finish a draft, even as I feel a sense of relief and accomplishment, I’m already gearing up for the inevitable rewrite. And the next rewrite. And then revisions and edits. I don’t have a problem with this. Every pass over the manuscript makes it a little better. Also – as long as it’s undone, I don’t have to worry about critics or sales or what people will think. There is a safety in an unfinished work. So when I got the email from my editor telling me that BETWEEN was going to copy edits and we were done making all big changes, I had a
huge slight meltdown.
What do you mean no more big changes? But it’s not ready, it’s not good enough, it isn’t FINISHED. I need more time!
BETWEEN launches itself out into the world in just a little over a month. I’m pretty sure I could still make it better. But the thing about publishing is that at some point the book is ripped out of your grasping author hands and you’re told kindly but firmly to go play with the next book.
Easier said than done. But you know what? The characters start talking in my head. Phrases come and go. Ideas start to twist around each other into plot lines, and before I know it I’m writing that next book.
I’ll never be finished writing, even though I will finish books. And that, in itself, is comforting.
How do you feel about finishing a project? Is there joy and celebration or do you suddenly find yourself in need of a therapist?