Saturday, September 10, 2011

The End of Summer

Summer is coming to an end and I can't say I'm sorry. It seems like half the people I know have just returned from or are just about to go on a fabulous trip to somewhere--Ireland, Alaska, England, the Czech Republic, Italy, Hawaii, Iceland, even the Sudan! But here I sit, having just enjoyed the hottest August ever recorded for the Phoenix area. And that's saying something.

At least I am finally making some real progress on the new book. I've reached that stage where the book is beginning to write itself. You know how it is. When an author begins to write a book, she has an end in mind, and she plugs doggedly in that direction. But eventually she reached a point where the characters begin to take over, and they lead her in directions she never thought of. Graham Greene, author of The Quiet Man, The Comedians, and Our Man in Havana, among others, had it right when he said that "there comes a time when your character does something you wouldn't have thought of. When that happens, you know he's alive, and you leave him to it."

It is a fascinating process, especially when my story ends up in an exciting and interesting spot that I wouldn't have known existed until my characters took me there.

I have several book events scheduled for October – Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe with Mara Purl on the 11th, a talk for the Brandeis University group at a Barnes and Noble on Shea Blvd in Scottsdale on the 17th, and I’ll be teaching a mystery-writing class for the Avondale Writers’ Conference in Avondale, AZ, on October 29.

In the meantime, I hope to finish the new book by the end of the year and continue contributing to the blogs (don’t forget to check out my new gig at the Poisoned Pen Press blog on the 27th of every month.) If you're passing through Arizona in October, on your way to your exotic summer's end vacation, I'd love it if you'd stop by and see me at one of my gigs.

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