Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finishing and Beginning Again

Last week I finished the final rewrite of Spider Web. Over Labor Day weekend I dumped about fifty pages and added fifty more because there was a plot point that didn't feel I changed it. The book will now make a second trip my editor as well as to the copy editor. I'll get to read it one more time and make small changes according to the editor's queries (or mistakes I find upon rereading). Then it is off to typeset, printing and finally, publication in May 2011. So, before I "begin again" on my next book, I've been trying to organize my life. Big question--who snuck into my house while I was sleeping and left all this junk? It is amazing the amount of stuff that accumulates while I have my head down writing.

So, before I start the sequel to The Saddlemaker's Wife, I'm trying to weed through books, papers, general junk and make room to work more comfortably. Actually, I find that while I clean I am thinking about the new book, about Ruby, Lucas, Birch, Bobby and Ely, what they might be doing, where to start the book, what new characters might show up. What do I know for sure?

First, that I need to reread it to remind myself of the details (I wrote it in 2005!). One thing I know for sure (almost) is that I'll explore the thread about Ruby's missing mother. That was something that was never answered in the book and has always left me curious (I often don't know myself why I put those small mysteries in my stories). This will be an interesting test of my abilities because I didn't write this book with the intention of writing a sequel. What still amazes me (and confirms the unpredictability of life) is that The Saddlemaker's Wife sold better than any of my books and I didn't plan on a sequel. Love Mercy has had the worst sales and I planned on it being a trilogy, so I had a story line that arched over three books (and will, sadly, likely never be written--sales are everything in publishing, especially these days). But, I trust God that all things will be as they should be. I try to live my writing life according to some very good advice by one of my favorite writers.

"If it shall please God that I write more books, blessed be He. If it shall not please Him, again blessed be He. Perhaps it will be the most wholesome thing for my soul that I lose both fame and skill lest I were to fall into that evil disease vainglory." C.S. Lewis

I did have some fun over the summer. I flew back East to visit my baby sister, Debra, in Connecticut. She and I drove to Mystic, Connecticut for a girl's weekend away. She ended up getting a cold, but we still had fun, especially laying around our hotel room and talking late into the night. Spent some quality time with my nieces, Sam and Jen. Sam starts high school this year and Jen just graduated college and landed a job at the same college she just graduated she's back at school, but as an adult now. Then I drove to New Hampshire to spend time with Tina (aka beloved webmaster) where we shopped, ate, talked and laughed. One of the fun things we did was go to the Vermont Country Store, a place I'd ordered countless things from over the years. It was fun seeing it in person. The store looks tiny from the front, but goes waaay back! I could have poked around it for two days and not seen everything. It is just like their great catalogs.

All is well in the Fowler household. Allen's still taking his mandolin lessons from Andy Rau (my former banjo teacher--alas, I've not continued my time); Boo is doing good despite a rough six months of stomach and skin issues that are clearing up; Daddy is stable and happy in his assisted living home. I turned fifty-six this year! It's hard to believe that I started the Benni books in 1992. She was 34 and I was 38. She's turning 40 in Spider Web. I remember 40! I can't believe I'm now older than Gabe.

I only have one more speaking engagement this year. I'll be at the Mission Viejo Reader's Festival on September 25th. It looks like it will be a fun day with lots of activities for all ages. Come on out if you have time. More details on my appearances page.

Happy Trails, Earlene