I’m writing everyday and never get over here to write a blog post. When I do it feels it is only for myself, a channel to work through whatever I’m thinking about that is probably keeping me from doing real work. WordPress as therapist. Blogging is largely self-indulgent to begin with.
My next novel is well underway. It has been for a long time. I started it before my second book, Ballyvaughan, then shelved it to write that one. Then again to write my third, Designated Survivor. This new one means a lot to me, it’s personal in many ways, but is not a memoir or introspective. It’s fiction, but is loosely based on someone that was, and still is, very important in my life, my grandpa. I’ve started and stopped so many times because I don’t want to screw it up. I don’t want to screw up any of my books, but this is different. It isn’t in my Eddie Holland detective series, and it isn’t a follow up to the Grace spy thriller Designated Survivor.
It’s set in Oklahoma where I spent several years of my life and my grandpa spent most of his, where my family still lives. I never saw Oklahoma as anything special, just a place I lived and went to school then left. But I haven’t viewed most places I’ve lived as special, except perhaps Northern California where I’d spend each weekend sitting on large stones at the beach reading and rereading John Steinbeck. In writing about Oklahoma I’ve now begun to romanticize it in my mind, in my words. I’m using real towns, real locations, places you can go visit today and I want to do those places justice. But in writing about real places you also have to add things that aren’t real. Call it literary license, suspension of disbelief. They’re the things only locals would catch and question, then hopefully keep reading, understanding that not everything can be reality in a work of fiction.
It has been a challenge writing this novel. It’s a new style of writing, not straight forward like a detective or spy thriller. I’ve written and rewritten so much of it until I’m happy with it, down to each word. Then half the time I go back and start over. But I’m on the downward slope now, I feel. At some point I have to say “I’m done” and get it over to my editor and her mighty red pen. I’m excited and eager to get this one out.
And I really want to get back to Oklahoma for a visit.