Still in the rainy Pacific Northwest for the foreseeable future. Makes for some great writing days, although I’m itching to get to Arizona to fill in the last holes of Jericho before it’s finished. We are (not so) patiently waiting for our vaccines and envy those of you who have gotten them. The sooner we can all be vaccinated, the sooner we can travel again and enjoy each other’s company—and go to bookstores!
For my birthday, I gifted myself Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. In a word: Brilliant.
Closing in on 60,000 words of the approximately 85,000 word finished manuscript. After a recent videotaped interview at my still-closed local library, the new librarian invited me to browse the library shelves. Who would have thought it would such a treat to roam up and down library stacks again? Talk about simple pleasures. I checked out 10 books, including ones on post-Civil War America, the American West, 19th century social customs, famous ghost towns, and three of the Foxfire books that bring to life pioneer cooking and crafts.
When we finally get to Tucson, my first order of business is to return to the spot where I’ve placed the fictional town of Jericho just to see if I’ve missed anything—flora, fauna, geography, and weather. There is no substitute for standing in your characters’ shoes and walking the land they inhabit.
Here’s a quote passed along by author friend Charlie Euchner:
It all begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do it trot along behind him with paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does. —William Faulkner
The Sisters and Daughters Corner
This month, I’m highlighting six books recently enjoyed by my sister, two sisters-in-law, two daughters, and daughter-in-law. In upcoming months, I’ll have other featured readers corners. We can never have too many book recommendations!
The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue, by V. E. Schwab
The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn
The Book of Longings, by Sue Monk Kidd
American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins
“The Bad Guys”
Thank you for your wonderful suggestions to name “bad guys” in Jericho. I’ve already written in Jimmy Bugg, a wonderful suggestion from a reader last year.
Here are a few of my favorites for unsavory characters. You might just see one or two of these ruffians in print:
- Johnny “One Eye” Baron
- Red Callahan
- Buck Torres
- Rodney Rogers
- Butch “No Good” Brown
- Albert Snark
For this next month’s contest, finish this sentence:
The next morning, Ruby woke abruptly. She heard ________________.
I will look forward to your answers that you can submit here. You never know how an answer to a simple prompt might work its way into a manuscript. It does take a village!
Winner gets an ebook of Answer Creek to keep or gift to a friend.
Writing is a lonely endeavor (if you discount interactions with fictional characters). I love meeting and interacting with readers, so feel free to write me with any questions you might have about writing. I’ll answer directly and might use your questions in upcoming newsletters.
Until next month, Happy Reading!