Deb Sarah on Saying Goodbye to One Story & Starting Another

To start off, have you seen the trailer for The Violets of March? I’m so excited to share it! Let me know what you think:

Now, to the topic at hand …

Any writer knows well, when you’re writing a novel, your characters can quickly start to feel like friends (or maybe just house guests that hang around for a long time, right?). You hear them whispering in the morning when you’re making your coffee. They nag at you mid-day when you’re not feeling very creative. They haunt your dreams at night (and if you’re like me, you keep a notebook by your bed to write down any random tidbits that came to you over the course of the night). This is all a good thing, of course. The more thought that goes into your characters and their lives, the richer the story. And as we talk about “new beginnings” here at the Ball this week, I wanted to acknowledge the process of saying goodbye to one set of characters and getting to know another group.

It’s not easy saying farewell to them—the heroines and the villains, the quirky folks you’ve dreamed up. But when it’s time, it’s time. Yep, I’m talking about a new book! As I wait and watch (and pace the floors) until The Violets of March comes into the world a the very end of April, I’m thinking about new books, new characters, too. So I say goodbye to Bee and Emily, Esther and Elliot, and look to a new group of characters. I may have shared here that I’ve completed a second novel, a novel I’m extremely excited about and so proud of (it kills me to not be able to share a single thing about it with you, but I will be patient)! Exciting things brewing, and I’ll keep you posted. But for now, I’m also setting this story aside and working on … gulp … a third.

Never did I think that I could fall in love with a set of characters more than my first book, or my second, and here I am lost in la-la land with a new group of folks that have come to my imagination. Frankly, I’m smitten with them. I’m taking bigger risks with their lives than I have in my other books—pushing them to places that aren’t always comfortable (and getting a little teary-eyed when I do)—and watching like a new mother as their personalities develop.

So, it’s a new beginning here in my writing life—new characters, new stories, and a new year to kick things off.

Wishing you a terrific new beginning in your own life for 2011! I’d love to hear what things—literary or otherwise—that you have simmering.

xo, Sarah

11 Replies to “Deb Sarah on Saying Goodbye to One Story & Starting Another”

  1. Here’s something simmering, and whether or not anything comes of it, I have to share because it’s so cool. Just tonight (I’m writing this late late Wednesday), I got an email from a guy who says he’s very interested in a TV idea I pitched him… FIFTEEN YEARS AGO!!!!

    Now, I’ve been at this long enough (fifteen years, apparently) that I know not to get my hopes up too high, but just the fact that this guy remembered and circled back so many years later… to me it’s validating — it shows that no effort following your passions is in vain.

    At the very least, it made my night, and gave me an excuse to get back in touch with an old friend, my partner on the project.

    A new beginning that actually picks up the thread of an old beginning? That I love.

    As for your books, Sarah, I am kowtowing in awe that with everything on your plate you’ve completed a first draft of book 2 and the beginnings of book 3!!!! Seriously, you’re my hero.

  2. I think Joshilyn Jackson wrote recently about that point in starting a new story where you absolutely fall in love with the characters and can’t stay away from the keyboard, can’t stop thinking about them. It sounds like you’ve hit that point already – congratulations! I think it’s exciting.

  3. Tawna, thanks! And Eleanor, that’s exactly where i”m at with this story, and yet I can’t find the time to get back to the keyboard right now with all that’s going on. Soon! Praying for a non-colicky baby. Please God! Colic can’t strike twice, right (my first cried for months and months). xoxo

  4. Love the gorgeous trailer – you’re right about characters too. Don’t ask me about how many times lightning can strike, in fact, I’m throwing salt over my shoulder and walking away.


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