With Blueprints going on sale in paperback this week, I just reread it to refresh my memory. Does it surprise you that I would need to do that? But consider this. I’ve written and published more than 80 books. No human mind can keep straight all the details of 80 books. Moreover, it’s been two years since I finished writing Blueprints, and since then, I’ve been immersed in writing The Make Up Artist. I’ve often made the analogy that moving from book to book is like cramming for final exams. You jam as much as you possibly can into your mind, take the exam, then push it all out to make room for the next subject.
A reader just wrote that she heard I was retiring. Who said that?
No. I’m not retiring. Let’s be clear about it. I. Am. Not. Retiring.
Not that I haven’t considered it in moments of frustration. Life for a writer has changed. When I started – more than 30 years ago – all I had to do was write. Ha ha. That’s funny. I was a full-time mother of three young sons, a full-time wife, a full-time homemaker. And all I had to do was write.
Last week was for audio, but here are three books I recently read in the flesh, as so many of you choose to do as well. Audio or print, the stories remain the same. If something in one of these books appeals to you and you’re an audiobook person, by all means, listen.
First, The Marriage of Opposites, by Alice Hoffman.
I have loved Alice Hoffman’s books for years, and “The Marriage of Opposites” didn’t entirely disappoint. Her portrayal of setting is exquisite – in this case, St. Thomas in the first half of the 1800’s, then Paris. Her imagery is vivid, and her research through. I have no doubt but that the historical detail offered in “The Marriage of Opposites” is accurate.
I’m new to listening. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to intersperse eye-reading with ear-reading. And it’s taken discipline, keeping my mind on every spoken word, rather then letting it wander, as sometimes happens with a book. But for those times when you can’t be glued to the physical page – like when you’re driving or working out – listening to audiobooks is really pretty cool. I guess I can say that because I’ve lucked into some well done ones. Lucked into? Actually, the best were recommendations from a local independent bookseller. In case you don’t have one of those yourself, there’s me. Here are three recommendations of books that I loved. You may want to read them in print. I just happened to listen.
Commitments is my 42nd child – but every single child of mine is special to me. Their birthdays are cause for celebration, which is what I’m doing today. I’m celebrating the birth of Commitments as an eBook.
It’s about time! Commitments was first published in 1988 and has been issued in every other format but digital. Why? For one thing, because eBooks didn’t exist in 1988, when “electronic rights” weren’t even on publishers’ radar screens. For another, because more and more of you are reading electronically each year. And for a third, because my current publisher agreed that publishing Commitments digitally is long overdue.
I do. I admit it. I’m a hopeless romantic who, yes, does believe in love at first sight. I’m not saying it’s the only way love happens. But – skeptics be damned – I’ve known too many couples who were partners from the start. They felt an instant connection, and it wasn’t only physical, but emotional and intellectual as well.
If the attraction is only physical, that would be lust at first sight. I’ve known couples like that, too – couples who lay eyes on each other for the very first time and feel a powerful chemical attraction, if little else. In instances where chemical attraction evolves into emotion, love may follow. Otherwise, the prognosis is not good. If something happens to the physical – illness, accident, wanderlust – and there’s nothing else, what’s left?
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?
I 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.
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?
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.