In approximately one week, I will have finished the initial draft of “North of Eden”. It was been a long pull–the word count is 120,000 words–difficult at times, thrilling at other times. As you know from recent blogs, I fell in love with the characters–they are all real to me, and of course I hope they will be real to you, and memorable. According to my recent conversation with my amazing editor, Kathy Sagan, at Mira Books, the novel will go on sale in May of 2018, which means it will be released on the last Tuesday in April. Finishing a book is always a wonderful feeling, but, as you may imagine, it is also bittersweet. It means saying good-bye to characters I have come to cherish as friends–Caroline, Bridger, Rogan, Enoch, Jubie, a little dog called Sweet Girl–and that is hard, even though several will appear in the next book in the trilogy, “South of Glory”. Of course, I always feel this way when I finish any book–for me, it’s rather like raising children and then seeing them go off to college. I will suffer from Empty Nest Syndrome for a while, but, fortunately, a new book awaits–“The Wager”, a contemporary Western romance. That one will be released in paperback; “North of Eden” is a hardcover. My lovely publishers, Harlequin/HQN and Mira, agree with me that alternating between the two kinds of books will be a way to (hopefully) please my readers, and it’s excellent from a creative standpoint. I know, as a card-carrying Gemini, that I will enjoy switching back and forth between modern and historical stories.
Because I love to learn, and to be reminded of what I’ve already learned, but maybe forgotten, I just re-listened to Stephen King’s marvelous book, “On Writing”. I have never actually met Mr. King, though I had the good fortune to catch a glimpse of him from a distance once, at a Book Expo America, in New York. He is well known in the industry for his generous attitudes toward less successful writers (and, let’s face it, that adds up to just about everybody), and while most of his books are too gritty for me, I have tremendous respect for him. His novel, “Cujo”, was hard (okay, impossible) to put down, and even though the end made me cry, I have never forgotten that book, even though I read it years ago. My brother ranks King’s “The Stand” as the best book he’s ever read, which is saying something, since he’s a big reader, like I am. After “On Writing”, however, I might try more of his stories–though I will still avoid “Misery”, because, frankly, that book is every writer’s worst nightmare.
To continue my rambles, I had my hair cut yesterday, but–brace yourself–not colored. I’m going to go gray, partly because I hate messing with bleaches and dyes and partly (mainly) because I think it’s more authentic. I’m finally brave enough to be myself, I guess. Since Jeremy used to do my hair, right here on the Triple L, I was a little spoiled, but now that he and Wendy have moved to San Diego, where they are very happy, by the way, and I’ve been doing little else besides writing “North of Eden”, my roots got away from me. From now on, my cousin Danny’s wife, Misty, will be doing the doing the honors. And guess what? Turns out I got the silver-hair gene, like my Aunt Donna. So, I’m going to be kind of streaky for a while, but soon enough, since my hair grows so fast you can practically hear it, like corn in August, I will be through the two-tone phase. Stay tuned.
And now, back to work. You see, I have a book to finish.