Does the ending suit you?

I’ve done a lot of reading this summer. I’ve also spent a lot of time studying reader reviews on Amazon, as well as taking part in discussion groups on Goodreads. Two of the books I’ve read, in particular – Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman and Lisa Genova’s Inside the O’Briens – had endings with which readers took issue. And I don’t just mean readers saying they didn’t like the ending. I mean readers saying that the ending “stank,” that the author “blew it,” that the ending “ruined” the book. We’re talking over-the-top stridency.

Good reading

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There’s reading. And then there’s READING. The first is a solitary endeavor from start to finish, done on the subway, or curled up in a chair, or in bed. The second adds a step at the end: discussing a book with someone else who has read it. That person may be a single individual. It may be a group of women in a nail shop. It may be a formal book group, either one you’ve been in for a while or one affiliated with a bookstore.

I won’t grow up!

Peter Pan had it right. If growing up means no more fun and adventure, I don’t want to grow up either. I like fun and adventure – like doing new things – like challenging myself. I like doing something I never imagined myself doing. Oh yeah, sometime it’s daunting. I have a comfort zone, just like you all.

But life is about growing. Have you done anything new in the last year? Taken a new job? Signed up for a new course? Tried a new diet? Taken up a new sport? Befriended someone new?

Barbara’s life plan …

Ha! Do you really think I have a life plan?

Oh, I did once. I assumed I’d have my parents all my life, like every other child I knew. Then my mother died, and reality hit. Believe it or not, I was the only child in my whole third grade class who didn’t have two parents living in the home. Okay. Times have changed. Living with one parent isn’t unusual today. Back then, though, my loss was a huge thing.

David, Edythe, and girls

BD and the Big Apple

I used to go to New York a lot. The first time was when I was eleven, when my dad introduced my sisters and me to the place. We stayed at the Commodore Hotel over Grand Central Station, and he took us to the Empire State Building, the Broadway production of “Peter Pan,” Rockefeller Center, and the Flatiron Building. Little did I know at the time that the Flatiron Building would play a role in my life – but I’m getting ahead of myself.

When books mirror life

BD's bathroom redoI have a childhood friend, living far away now, who swears she knows what’s going on in my life from my newest book. She is certainly right where Blueprints is concerned.  During the early months of the writing, in real life I was gutting and redoing the bathroom off my bedroom – totally fitting when the main characters of the book specialize in gut-and-redos.

Did one bring the other about? Not really. My husband and I were planning on redoing our bathroom, and the timing just matched. Not that I minded. Not that I mightn’t have even given it a push. When I’m in writing mode, which is a round-the-clock thing, overlap is good.

Where’s your comfort zone?

Night Driving

I had a heart-to-heart once with the guy who does my hair. He’d been doing it for a long time, but we were increasingly at odds about style, cut, and color, with him urging me in one direction and my urging him in another. Finally, seeming exasperated, he said, “Barbara, you need to get out of your comfort zone.” I went home and thought about that – and realized that I had been asking him to do my hair differently for months, so that, in fact, he was the one who needed to get out of his comfort zone.

How we got a cover for BLUEPRINTS

 

BLUEPRINTS by Barbara Delinsky

If you’re reading this blog, you’re currently looking at the cover of my new book, BLUEPRINTS, which debuts this coming June. What do you think? Does the cover draw you in?

This isn’t an idle question. It’s one that my publisher and I have been asking ourselves since this cover became “the one.” We think it works. But then, we’ve already read the book. You all won’t have read it when you spot the book on sale next June. So will this cover lure you to buy?

I have a title!

Blueprints

Book titles arrive different ways. Some crop up at the get-go, even before I start writing a book. Others come when my publisher reads the opening of the book and a word or phrase pops up that is perfect. Others take longer to find.

My preference? I like having a title early on. It helps me focus.

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.