Well, I did it. I finally sent off sixty polished pages of my WIP, The Last Bathing Beauty, to my agent. This new book is my option project with St. Martin’s Press. That’s a standard part of a book contract, that the author’s next work will be offered to the current publisher first, who will have the option to make to an offer, or not. If they choose not to offer, or if the author and publisher can’t agree, then the agent can take the book to other potential publishers.
So that’s where we are. My agent will read the pages this week (maybe today?!) and we’ll talk about any tweaks or changes, then she and I will work on the synopsis, which I’ve completed, but probably needs to be rearranged. Then, she’ll work up a pitch email (of sorts) and also talk to my editor about the new book and all the reasons they should want to publish it, and me!
I’m hoping that sometime this spring I’ll be able to announce a new book deal. I have no idea what that will look like, since The Last Bathing Beauty is a little different than my first three novels.
That fact, and the fact that I moved in November, is what has made starting The Last Bathing Beauty different from the other books.
First, this book requires research that goes beyond Google and girlfriends. I know. I have a stack of books, a hidden Pinterest board with photos, I’ve done interviews, and have gotten lost in a myriad of internet holes that lead me deeper into the subjects. It makes everything take a little bit (okay, a lot) more time, because there are details that need tending that I can’t just make up in my head.
Second, I wrote the first three books in my other house. As a creature of habit, I am finding that I have not yet setting into my writing niche here. That’s true with the blog, and it’s true with the book. But both are getting back on track. Today.
In my house where I lived for almost 18 years, I had an office. with an L-shaped desk where I could, and did, leave out research. I had bulletin boards where I pinned words and timelines and photos. I don’t have a lot of space here in my new place, so I’m trying to figure out where to, and how to, S P R E A D O U T.
I don’t write at a desk, which you may remember. I write sitting on the bed (like now) or on my comfy chaise, chair, or sofa. But I do edit at a desk so I can leave out papers, go back for bits and pieces at a time. I have no desk, so I’m deciding exactly how my upcoming first pass pages will get done, and where. (First pass pages are actual lose paper pages that are your typeset book, and the last time any small corrections can be made.
Issues aside, I’m crazy excited about continuing to write about Boop. You remember her, right? The feisty 84 year old grandmother in South Haven? Well things have changed for her. The book was from Hannah’s POV, and now the book is in third person, from Boop’s POV in the present. In the 1951 chapters where Boop/Betty is 18, it’s from Betty’s POV in first person.
And now, the story starts with—you will never believe this—A PROLOGUE.
Here’s the first paragraph:
September 8, 1951 — South Haven, Michigan
Any other bride would have gazed into the mirror, stepped away, then turned and glanced back over her shoulder for another peek. Not me. I hadn’t looked at myself all day. I’d avoided my reflection for several days. The person looking back would not be me. I no longer existed.
I wanted to say I died, but was mindful of my reputation for melodrama.
Fun, right? Well, maybe not for Betty, but it is a lot of fun to write it.
So much fun that sometimes I sort of forget I have a book coming out IN NOVEMBER! (Not really, except sort of.)
I will have ARCs next month — and I’ve already given one away (I didn’t forget, and that person will get the first one) and I’m excited and nervous to give away more — to have the book out there. Though I’ll admit, when I read it again for the first time in months I knew it was a story perfect for NOW. It’s hopeful. It’s heart-healing. And who couldn’t use a little of that?
I’ll be back more often now! I have a few book reviews and interviews coming. Thanks for hanging in there with me while I kicked off my new adventure!