Mockingbirds

Just finished my next book! I’ve been working on this baby for more than a year, and that doesn’t count the months before I started the actual writing, when I focused on research. This book – no title yet – demanded a lot of research. I had to learn about the tools a carpenter would keep in her truck, the type of projects she would do, which ones she would like and which ones not, what her hands would look like at the end of the day. I had to learn about an architect’s road to licensure, what her office would look like, and how she might approach a project. I had to learn how a locally-produced, home-renovation tv show might be taped, the prep work that would go into it, and the people who would be on the set. I’m clearly summarizing it for you, but you get my drift.

My Maine Childhood

Maine lake camp

I’m a Maine-summer girl. Some of my earliest memories are from visiting my dad’s sister’s place on Lake Sebago or my mom’s father’s cooperage in Portland. Then my mother died, and I was sent away to camp.  If that sounds cruel, listen up.

Notice any changes?

Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky

The new, gorgeous, trade paperback edition of Sweet Salt Air is now on sale! It’s the second generation, so to speak, which means it’s been improved upon. The changes are subtle. You may not notice them unless you study both editions side by side. I’m telling you about the changes here, so that you’ll know this: I listen when you speak.

Are you a matchmaker?

Have you ever played matchmaker and fixed up at friend?  Ever been fixed up yourself, as in, agreed to a totally blind date on the say-so of someone else playing matchmaker?

Matchmaking fascinates me.  No, I’ve never done it – have never known two people who are available at the same time and might actually like each other – but I do love stories of weddings from fix-ups and the pride that the matchmaker feels.

When I write about home construction

Does life imitate art?  Not for me.  For me, it’s the other way around.  When life happens, I write about it.  For instance, after my husband and I built our house, I wrote about home construction in the Crosslyn Rise Trilogy.  When we began spending time in small New Hampshire towns, I wrote Lake News.  When my aunt developed Alzheimer’s disease, I wrote Shades of Grace.  When I felt overwhelmed by life’s demands, I wrote Escape.

My Valentine’s Day Trifecta

Three Hearts (sm)

Valentine’s Day is my kind of day.  I was a romantic before I ever wrote a single romance, and once I did that – and discovered that people loved reading what I wrote – there was no end to my hearts-and-flowers imagination.  All told, I wrote fifty romances, sometimes eight a year, I was that into it.  But being a romance writer wasn’t, in fact, entirely hearts and flowers.  There were friends who politely told me that they didn’t read “that kind of book.”  Worse, there was the family member who actually told me she didn’t read “that kind of trash.”  There were booksellers who hid me in a back corner when I came for a signing, rather than up front, where other visiting authors sat.  And then there were people (male, usually, like the one selling me my first computer) who blithely said, “So now all you have to do is cut-and-paste different names, and you have a new book.”

Do you do crossword puzzles?

 

Crossword

When I was a child, I saw my father come home from work every night, sit down with the newspaper, and do the crossword.  I have grown up to be very different from him, but here is one thing on which we agree.  Crossword puzzles are the ultimate form of relaxation for someone who enjoys playing with words.  My dad was a corporate lawyer, and legalese notwithstanding, his choice of words was crucial in protecting his clients.  Writing fiction, as I do, is light years removed from writing a corporate contract.  Though none of you will sue me if you feel that a word or phrase or sentence I use is misleading, when I’m writing a book, I struggle with words twelve hours a day to get the nuance just right.

What’s coming for Barbara in 2014

Couture Fashion ModelYoung chick, old boots.  That’s my theme here.  As 2013 fades to 2014, it’s only natural to think about ending the old and beginning the new.  But is that what really happens?

Not in my book.  And I mean that both literally and figuratively.  I don’t see that we end and begin.  Life is a continuum.  What we do today is colored by what we did yesterday. We appreciate what’s in front of us all the more for what’s behind.  We are the sum of our parts.

Which brings me to the newest Barbara Delinsky book, my work-in-progress.

Page Change

Whoa.  I just looked at my last blog, and realized how long I’ve been gone!  Well, not really gone.  I’ve been here at my desk the whole time, plugging away at my new book.  But now we’re into October, and sweet corn is passé in New England.  What’s in?  Apples and cranberries (the picture below is actually of cranberries).  Ginger and yams.  Cool nights.  Fall foliage.

Fresh red cranberries

I hear you!

The notes you send have a huge impact on me.  The most  obvious instance occurred in June, soon after Sweet Salt Air came out.  One reader said she thought the book started too slowly.  I promptly turned to my work-in-progress, reread the opening with a critical eye, then switched Chapters 1 and 2 so that the reader learns the opening plot twist sooner.  It wouldn’t have worked for Sweet Salt Air.  But it did work here.