Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Right Book for the Right Time

Several years ago I had a dream about going back in time to save a twin sister I never knew I had. I woke up with a feeling of amazement and knew that I had to turn that dream into a book. After several months of research and writing, Olympus Gate was finished. It's a story about an apocalypse, Ancient Rome, mistaken identities and fallible gods. I loved that book for being everything I had hoped to make it. It was the book I needed to write because it gave me confidence in my ability. And I'm still proud of it, despite the fact that it was finished too late for the market it would have fit.

The Never Silent was the book I had always wanted to read but that never existed before. I wrote it after Olympus Gate, when I was desperate for a book that was so totally me that I knew no one else could ever write it. And it turned out to be everything I hoped for. I still love that book as much as I think I will ever love a book, and I'm so glad that I wrote it.

These were books I needed to write at the time I needed to write them. We talk a lot about the timing of a book being right for its audience, but we don't talk so much about the timing being right for the author. I couldn't have written Olympus Gate any earlier than I did. I wasn't ready. And I couldn't have written The Never Silent a year later. By then I had a baby and my world was turned upside down.

The first year after my son was born, everything was different. I was an exhausted, emotional wreck a lot of the time, mostly from severe sleep deprivation due to being up every 45 minutes all night every night. I wanted to keep writing, but the only thing I could write was something lighthearted and fun, not at all how I would describe The Never Silent. And that was how The Curator came about. It was precisely the book I needed to write at the time I needed it.

Now The Curator is in late stage edits and I'm writing a new book. It's about tulips and secrets and the consequences of meddling in other people's lives. I'm loving it. The words just keep coming and coming. Is it the book I need right now? I think so. It's allowing me to try some new things I've never done before, and it's cooperating in so many ways, which is precisely what I need as I prepare for a new baby.

What will be next? I don't know. A lot may depend on my sleep status a year from now. But I feel a vague, far-off pull of a new idea. A murky feeling has been stirring in me lately as I look at the world and I realize just how much everything in it comes with a cost. I was thinking about this last night as I fell asleep, and yet again I had a dream. Maybe once the current books are done I'll come back to that dream, that feeling, that idea. Maybe this will be my next book, and it will be the new thing I need to write, precisely when I need to write it.

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