One of the questions I was asked a lot after my first book, An Unusual Path, was published, and still one I get to this day, is "What made you decide to write a book?" The best answer I have been able to come up with is "My brain got itchy." I had this story swirling around in my head for years, and finally had to write it down and get it out of my brain before I went nuts. To have the characters of Jack and Amy constantly having conversations in my head was incredibly distracting.
As I was finishing An Unusual Path, I started to get the same feelings again with a new story, and am happy to tell you all that my next novel, Phoenix Morrow, will be out soon. My editors will have given me all of their proofs back in the next couple of days, and I will be making my final edits this week. Those folks are invaluable to me, they know who they are, and I hope they know that I love them from the bottom of my heart. I took a little time this past summer to get distracted by putting out my humorist book, Treadmill Tales, which was fun but I am happy to get back to working on fiction. It makes my heart sing like nothing else can.
And yet, once again, my brain has gotten itchy. Beginning this past summer, so while I was writing Phoenix Morrow and finishing up Treadmill Tales, I began getting ideas for a third novel. I found myself wishing I could borrow Dumbledore's Pensieve from Harry Potter, simply to try to siphon off some of the chaos swimming around in my imagination. As many of my friends told me, it's a good problem to have as an author, but it did get overwhelming sometimes. I would begin working on one only to get ideas on another, then try to jot notes for the third, and in the end felt like I got nothing actually written down. Wine usually came out at that point.
With no Pensieve available to me, so instead I began taking notes- napkins, fliers, little slips of paper, are all in a neat little pile ready for me to come back to them once Phoenix Morrow is completed. While it would be easy to get frustrated that I haven't done any multi-page writing days on that next project (that doesn't have a title yet), I am simply grateful that I haven't lost those little moments of inspiration. To quote my favorite book of all time, Jane Eyre, when Jane is asked what she will do with her accomplishments while teaching poor girls at a small village school,
"Save them till they are wanted. They will keep."
My advice to all of you out there with itchy brains is to grab those napkins, fliers, and little slips of paper, and scratch the itch. Don't get too concerned with the fact that it isn't pretty on a page yet. That will come. As you let some of those ideas out, more will come in to take their place, and before long you will have the narrative you were afraid didn't exist.
It's in there. Write it down.
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