My next book is finished! At least, the first draft is done.
I can’t believe I just typed those sentences. You see, I wrote The Opposite of Me while my two oldest boys were in school. I had lovely long stretches of time in which to drop off the kids, walk the dog, brew a pot of tea, fire up my computer, and sink into my manuscript. From typing the first sentence to the last, it took about nine months- not an enormous amount of time to write a 100,000 word novel.
When my agent sold The Opposite of Me, I was six months pregnant. I had a vague idea for my next book, but it wasn’t fully formed. I had pregnancy brain, for God’s sakes! I could barely remember my husband’s last name at times (it’s Clooney, right?) let alone the strands of a a book-length plot. I churned out a few chapters in between my free-lance writing and editing of my first book (I FedExed back the edits two days before I went into labor) but left most of the work for after the baby was born. I think I had a vague idea of curling up next to the baby in bed and tapping away on my laptop.
I’d forgotten that babies need to nurse approximately 46 hours a day, and they go through about as many items of clothing in an hour. In writing this next book (which doesn’t yet have a title), I had to give up long, silent stretches of writing time. I wrote when the baby napped or when I could score a babysitter. I wrote late at night, first thing in the morning, and in the carpool line. Somehow, line by line, page by page, the book took shape.
Second books are notoriously difficult. I read an interview once with Elizabeth Gilbert in which she said something along the lines of, “It needs to feel familiar to readers of the first book, but different. And better. So the same, different and better!” No problem! I knew I wanted to stay within my genre (commercial women’s fiction) and that I wanted to write in the first person again. I wanted my second book to be funny but touch on serious themes. I really hope I achieved that. My book is about a woman who wakes up one day and discovers she is married to a completely different man. That’s my 30-second elevator pitch – and I hope I’ll get to tell you more about it very soon.
Now it’s done. I’ve turned it into my agent, and I’m waiting to hear what she thinks. Please wish me luck!