OK. So here’s the story. Well, actually it’s not—a story, that is. And therein lies the problem . . .
Other than emails and blogs and a few (very few) letters, I have written nothing since last fall when I did manage to meet my final deadline for The Memory of Your Kiss.
So, you might ask, what’s the problem? I think it’s mostly that I work most efficiently under the constraints of a deadline. Perhaps that is a holdover from my days as a college student pulling all-nighters when a major paper was due—or from my days as a teacher when I put off grading papers until the very last moment. Anyway, right now I don’t have a deadline.
Mind you, I do have five or six books in various stages of planning, but only two of them are Regencies, and none is a finished manuscript. To break out of the Regency mold (partially—I will never give up the genre entirely!), I will need an agent and most agents want prospective clients to come to them with a finished manuscript in hand.
A few weeks ago, I dragged out what I call “my wagon train book.” I wrote six chapters of it several years ago and my critique group liked them. But then life got in the way. I was in a serious auto accident, then had to have back surgery. About the same time I lost my truly wonderful agent, Jane Jordan Browne, to pancreatic cancer.
When I got back to writing, I pushed the wagon train to a back burner and produced my WWII book, In Enemy Hands, and two new Regencies, An Earl Like No Other and The Memory of Your Kiss. I’m happy to say that, with some tweaking here and there, those first six chapters of getting characters on the trail “ain’t too shabby.”
However, in order to finish the book, I need to re-immerse myself in the research of western America in the middle of the 19th Century to recapture the flavor, the nuances, the mindset of that time and place. To this end, I am finding invaluable a series called Covered Wagon Women (Kenneth L. Holmes, ed.) which contains letters and diaries of women who made the trek west between 1840 and 1903.
Believe me, the “Pioneer Spirit” is not just a cliché historians invented!