I was always afraid that I would never write a book. Then I started one and became afraid that it would be my only one. I took some solace in the idea that as long as it was good, sold a few copies, and came from the deepest reaches of my soul that it wouldn’t matter if I only wrote one book. Until recently Harper Lee had only one published work that has been successful across generations. Immortality is only one publication away and people who are concerned with the tangible elements of this concept often find their ticket in writing. I won’t lie to you, this idea bears more than a passing thought to me.
As it were, my fear of never being published went away when I had my first short story Family Dinner published through my college’s literary magazine. It was an unprecedented moment for me and I will always remember the feeling of being told that my work had passed some sort of litmus test and was good enough for publication in an uncirculated annual magazine from an incredibly left-leaning school. What really blew my mind was Claire Voyant at the End of the World being published by them as well. I felt as though I had swayed someone, but it might have been their interest in some variety of their yearly publication. Both Family Dinner and Claire Voyant have elements of conservatism in them, but they are subtle (minus the jackbooted UN troopers at the end of Claire Voyant).
My fear of never being a published novelist went away last November when I finally published Twenty-Five at the Lip. Twenty-Five at the Lip had been a year long project that when started I didn’t think would actually get finished or that I would have anything left in me for another. As it turned out I was wrong. Almost before the ink was dry on my printed copy of my rough draft I had another work started called Don’t Look Back in Anger about a neurotic journalist who goes on a cruise with his family. I liked the character of Richard Henry from Twenty-Five at the Lip and decided to make him one of the supporting characters in the story. In addition to that I decided to have Valerie and Crystal from Twenty-Five also make cameos. There are some other Easter Eggs in Don’t Look Back, but I won’t spoil them for you. This however brings me to a really important element in my writing…
Apparently everything is related.
Sort of like the six degrees of separation, everything I write correlates on some level. Tuesday’s Gone also correlates to Twenty-Five, but this may not be apparent at first until the release of Don’t Look Back. The connection therein is sort of mind-blowing, at least from where I’m sitting and I’m rather proud of myself for putting it together the way I have.
My Camp NaNoWriMo project Just Say Maybe is actually a series of short stories that tie together elements of these novels and even expand on the world somewhat. I began a piece that I had no intention of writing and much like an Arlo Guthrie ballad it came to me like a flash out of the clouds. When I stand back and look at On the Level and Across the Lines I have elements of Tuesday’s Gone, You Can’t Go Home Again, and Family Dinner in there. It’s all coming together very well in one short story.
Tuesday’s Gone is currently in the editing process. My Manager/Editor is working furiously through this process while I start other things. My cover artist Jenny of Jenny Johnston Illustration is constructing a cover that will rival the brilliance that was Twenty-Five at the Lip. The release date can’t come fast enough.
As it is I already have a cover for Don’t Look Back in Anger – you just can’t see it yet. One thing at a time as they say. Don’t Look Back stands to be my longest written work, accepting only You Can’t Go Home Again, but I don’t think that counts because it’s under my Sci-Fi pseudonym and isn’t necessarily considered “factual” in terms of the three main novels Twenty-Five, Tuesday, and Don’t Look Back. It’s only tangent that could happen.
There is going to be a lager element to Family Dinner, but It may materialize in the form that Just Say Maybe is, a series of short stories that follow Jill on her journey. I have two more notions for a Tuesday’s Gone short story, but while one deals with Tuesday directly, the other might not be so obvious. That’s the fun part about Lost-like correlations. They are vague, but when you step back and see them all for what they are it’s amazing how they all string together.