|Spring in Arizona|
It is spring, the time of new beginnings. Barbara Fradkin has completed her latest manuscript, Vicki Delany’s latest has just been released, and John Corrigan has the end of his WIP in sight. Authors are traveling all over the Western world. And I am happy to say that I just finished the first draft of my eighth book, which is a good thing since it’s due to my editor at the end of this month. Besides, I am now brain dead.
The last few weeks of writing before a manuscript is due in to the publisher is intense and hair-raising. You finish. You send it off. It’s out of your hands. You are like a cork that has been anchored under the water for weeks and months, and now the string is cut and you pop to the surface. You’re floating. The sun is shining, the air is fresh. You are drifting. Aimless. You are disoriented. You’re blinking at the light. You don’t know what to do next. This has happened to me every time I finish a novel. I despair of ever being able to write another word.
This book, All Men Fear Me, which is scheduled for publication in November, was particularly hard for me to finish. It’s long. I have a lot going on. Too much? I don’t know. It seemed to me that everything I put in was necessary to the story. For every book I must come up with a compelling reason for a farm wife and mother of ten to get involved in a murder investigation. I also have to figure out a convincing way for her to either solve the murder or at least contribute to the solution, which as you might guess, isn’t that easy.
I have found over the course of eight books in the same series that I have begun to depart from the usual mystery novel format. The murders take place later and later in the story with each book I write. The later books are constructed more like thrillers than puzzles. In book seven, Hell With the Lid Blown Off, I told the reader who was going to die in the first sentence, but didn’t actually kill him for a hundred pages. In this book…well, I’ll let you see for yourself.
Or it could be that they’re all hard for me to finish and I just don’t remember from book to book, rather like childbirth. It’s a pain, but you’re always so pleased with the result that you forget how you suffered.
Anyway, my beta reader has the MS right now. I have no idea whether the book holds together or makes sense or is any good. I like the way it turned out, but mothers love their ugly babies as much as their pretty ones.