I can offer the best good excuse from any writer: my manuscript ate my blog! I’ve ignored this blog shamelessly because my writing brain has been elsewhere—in another far-off, purely fictional, land. I’m thrilled to share that I have completed a strong draft of my long-time-coming manuscript, Sleepwalking to China. I’ve sent it off to my agent for the second time. Technically, she’s read it three times, the first being almost a decade ago, but that’s another story. Or perhaps it's the same story. Because while some novels come forth in tidy, easily delivered packages, this one has been birthed slowly over several lifetimes.
But before I explain: here's a visual to prove I’ve been working:
I outlined and and reshaped and outlined some more, using my trusty and colorful 3 x 5 cards. I used them also for River of Dust and Dreams of the Red Phoenix, but this time, they were especially needed to keep my story from sprawling.
There are some scenes in this novel that I first wrote when I was fresh out of graduate school at Sarah Lawrence College, many, many years ago. Those scenes are what attracted an excellent agent to the book in its earliest incarnation. Since then, it has gone through several other agents and many transformations. I cannibalized it to create my debut novel. My second novel was inspired by it, too. So naturally, now that those books are both out in the world, I had to return to this unsolved story.
It’s a novel inspired by my family, felt by me, and yet wholly invented. It’s fiction that has fermented and changed in scent and taste and feel over time: it’s from a good vineyard in a good year. At least that’s my hope as I raise a glass and send it on its way.