Sunday, July 4, 2010

Getting Ready to Start

I did two book signings this weekend--one in Red Wing and one at Abode, a lovely gallery in Stockholm, WI. I was signing Frozen Stiff, my new book, the eighth in the Claire Watkins mystery series—hard to believe. I've been thinking about the ninth book for a long time, almost since the series started. Ideas percolate in my brain for at least a year before I try to write anything down.

The process of collecting bits of information for a book reminds me of what I think quilting must be like--finding a piece of fabric that you think would be nice in a quilt and then slowly over time gathering more and more bits of fabric that somehow might fit with the first. Finally one day you have to sit down and start. You have to be bold and begin to write. Laying it out, changing the order, pinning it down.

I'm getting very ready to start. In a way, I have already. I taught a class at Hamline University this early summer and had my students do writing exercises every class period to get us in the mood. I always write along with them. And I aimed all my writing at this new book. So now I really do have bits and pieces. Other than doing these exercises, I'm a very linear writer. I start at the beginning and plow ever onward until I reach the end.

I have a few more events to get out of the way—a visit from an old friend, teaching for almost two weeks in a low-residency program at Hamline—and then I will launch.

Claire and I are old pals. I look forward to finding out where her life is headed.

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