If I were to be honest, I’ve been working on a prequel to my novel “Without Grace” for several years now. Needless to say, I am not one of those who rushes to get a book written. I think that instant gratification in this self-publishing climate doesn’t honor the work. That said, I have fits and starts with the prequel, so one would think the last few months where I, along with everyone else, was forced to stay inside, I would have taken advantage of the time to work on it. When it became apparent, though, that the world as we know it was basically shutting down, I dragged a card table from the garage and set it up in my living room and then pulled out a 1000-piece puzzle and worked on that while keeping the TV on and watching the news, even though there was a nagging feeling I should be doing something much more productive. Finally, acting on that nagging feeling after having completed not one, but two puzzles, I folded up the table, brought it back out to the garage, and committed myself to digging into “Before She Was a Finley,” the working title to the prequel.
After I completed “The Gathering Brood,” my third novel, I wasn’t quite sure what my next book would be. I have been and still edit, ghostwrite and do publicity for others, so once my day is finished with that, I find that the creative energy is pretty much sapped. (So why am I wasting time blogging about this, I ask rhetorically?)
In reality, there are two issues that keep me from working on the prequel. First, the traditional publishing industry is more difficult to break into than ever, and it was never easy. My agent wasn’t able to sell my third novel, even though the rejections were gratifying, so, as I keep writing, I keep wondering, will I be able to find someone willing to buy this latest? Second, writing a prequel means that I need to keep the timeline in order that I had in “Without Grace.” (I was going to have a character fight in WWII when I realized that the war would’ve been over by the time he was old enough to do so.) Still, I am too deep into this now to let it go, especially since several years ago when I was driving home one night and a voice, Grace’s voice, said, “I didn’t mean to be cruel.” That’s when I realized her story had to be told. She just needed to tell me—with or without the pandemic. Therefore, it’s time to stop waffling and keep writing, since I’m finding out that Grace was right, she wasn’t cruel.