I’m starting a new book, a new series really, and this is how it works:
Start thinking about the story. (All the time.) Research. Make notes. Jot down ideas. Put off starting the book. Research some more. Make timelines. Jot down potential names. Put off starting the book. Research key events & personalities in American history. Try to configure them into the story. Make family trees. Jot down physical descriptions of main characters. Put off starting the book.
You get the picture. Why this is so is beyond me, but it has progressed (or not progressed, depending on one’s point of view) in exactly that way each time I started a new book. (Except for the very first one; Lily’s Sister was rudely impatient to see the light of day and ran ahead of me all the way.)
Over the next 2 years The Harvey House Quartet will begin to take up more & more space in my head. The characters will gather flesh & bone. The back stories will fill in. For me the fictional dramas will become real occurrences happening to real people, so real that their griefs will have the power to make me weep. Their dilemmas will keep me awake at night wondering what I would do in such a circumstance. (I quake a little at the thought. Writing first-person fiction sometimes puts me where I really, really, really do not want to be. Think Etta in Dangerous Thaw. Think Hope in Waiting for Hope.)
And so I put off the moment of the first word, the first sentence, the start of the journey. Literary procrastination. I should be used to it by now but the phenomenon still takes me by surprise, this wanting to write but putting it off and putting it off…until the characters are no longer content to stay quiet and subdued. Until their voices and their stories clamor. How odd is this reluctance! How systemic! How natural as breathing!
Book one of The Harvey House Quartet coming to a book site near you. Soon. Well, kind of soon. Once I start it. Maybe by the end of the year. Does that qualify as soon? I suppose it all depends on your definition of the word. Stay tuned.