Well, Dear Reader, I am finally deep in the writing mode again. Book Number Five has begun. Thus far, it consists of several disjointed scenes, but after having completed four other novels, I have a lot more faith that everything will magically come together – eventually. I have no idea how, but the Muses seem to have their ways, and who am I to question them?
I’ve done a lot of research leading up to the beginning of this book. So much, in fact, that ideas are leaking out my ears, and as I type along I’m muttering to myself, “too much… too much…” And it probably is too much, too. I had the same problem with Book Four (which upon birth was named The Sky Took Him and will be out in January 2009.) I did so much research, and was so enamoured of all the wonderful things I discovered, that I was really worried that I was getting entirely carried away with a bunch of interesting but superfluous material in the book. As it turned out, I had an attack of sense in the end and managed to take out most of the stuff that had nothing to do with the story, and ended up with a very nice novel. I have faith that I’ll be able to tell the difference between enough and too much for this book as well.
Book Five takes place at the beginning of World War I. In previous installments, Alafair has been desperately trying to ignore the war which has been going on in Europe in hopes that it’ll go away and not bother her and her family, but as you may guess, that will turn out to be a vain hope. I’m pretty well-versed in American history,and I knew the facts about American involvement in the war, but I am finding out all kinds of eye-popping information that I didn’t know about the home-front.
And speaking of The Sky Took Him, the press is ramping up for its publication right now, six months before release. This is the way it goes. The first thing they do is send me a giant questionnaire which takes me days to complete, though after having already filled it out three times before, some of the answers can be repeated – like my biography. I still was born in the same place I was born in when my first book came out. The questionnaire also asks for a list of special places and people I would like ARCs (advance reading copies) sent to, in addition to their regular list of reviewers. This is always a pain, even though I already have quite a list, because I feel I need to check every contact and address again to make sure there haven’t been changes since they reviewed my last book. It takes forever!
The book producer e-mailed me last week and said that we soon need to consult on cover ideas for The Sky Took Him. For the previous three books, I had some good pictures in hand that the cover artist was able to use, but I’m not going to be so lucky with this book, I fear. The Sky Took Him takes place in a different part of Oklahoma than the first three, in a much larger city than Boynton, and I don’t personally own any appropriate photos. So I’m going to be spending time looking through archives. It takes a lot of time. I should be grateful, though. Most authors by far have no say whatsoever in their covers. I not only have input, I’m very much involved in the process. If I weren’t so preoccupied with trying to write, I’d downright enjoy it.