A second book confirms that the first wasn’t just a fluke. A second book means you’re not a flash in the pan. A second book means…well, that since you wrote another one, you can do it again, and again, and again. I'm so excited to share the news that Unbridled Books will publish my new novel, Dreams of the Red Phoenix, in October, 2015. I was lucky enough to work with the same editor who edited River of Dust. Greg Michalson is a seasoned, skilled and sure-handed editor. When Greg suggests a paragraph should go, then it should go. When he doesn’t get my meaning, then I’d better believe my meaning’s not clear. In other words, this book was greatly improved and deepened because of Greg’s fine efforts.
As with River of Dust, I wrote the very first draft of Dreams of the Red Phoenix in twenty-eight days. Just twenty-eight days! I’ve been trying to figure out if writing first drafts in precisely the same number of days might have something to do with the stages of the moon, or a woman’s cycle. There must be some mysterious force at work, because in both cases I felt driven and blessed and somewhat on fire.
I started on December 2, 2012. I have never tried to write anything between the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Normally the only writing I do in those months are grocery lists and wish lists for the kids. But, for some reason, I had been plotting the novel in my head for weeks, maybe even months, and I went ahead and started it in early December. I stopped writing during the busiest of the holiday days when we had houseguests, but picked up again between Christmas and New Years and then hit full stride in first weeks of 2013.
But a first draft does not a novel make. It took many months to revise, including the summer months when I set it aside. When I returned to it in the fall of 2013, I zeroed in and we had a final draft by early 2014. Despite the rapid start it still took a full year to come to fruition.
Still, a year is quick for a literary novel. And while I can’t assume the third and fourth and any future books will come so easily, I do now have this precedent of fast starts and slow, careful finishes. With Dreams of the Red Phoenix, I had a story that was burning to be told and then I received some excellent help in telling it. Fingers crossed that the third will be so easy.