I’ve just finished writing Unforgivable Cin: An Opera in Three Acts. I had written a first, second and third draft of this mystery book before I felt it was ready to send to my new editor yesterday afternoon. I’m using two editors now, so I can get quality books to you readers sooner, one for the Haunted Series and one for the Cin Fin-Lathen Mysteries. The Red Pen is nearing the end of her edit of the 16th Haunted Series novel The Old House, and I expect to release it in a few weeks. One would think that this author would be dancing around… Wrong. Why? Because I have trouble letting go.
Each book is a child born of imagination and raised on sweat. These children live in my head, causing me to wake early and work sometimes late into the night. Each series has a definite world in which I too live in during the writing. Sometimes it affects me in the real world. At least, I hope this is the real world? I’ve always pondered the existential thought that perhaps I’m a character in a book. If so, I would like my author to pare down my pear-shaped body, increase my energy level, and leave handsome men at my feet - to be clear, I’m not talking shoe salesmen.
Okay, time to explain why it’s so hard to switch worlds. In order for me to bring you, the reader, onto that hillside where Murphy nurses his saplings, I have to walk there first in my mind. I smell the dew-covered grass and feel the burn on my legs as I climb the steep hill. Murphy stands before me, his hat pushed back in amusement. He thinks that I wouldn’t be so winded if my butt wasn’t so big. Of course, he would use more respectful words. Mia would call it like she sees it. “Alexie, you’ve got a writer’s ass.” I live in this world until I send the completed manuscript on to my editor.
Returning to the world of Cin Fin-Lathen, I have to travel south, way south, in my mind. My hair curls tight as I hit the Florida humidity, and the whole world is witnessed from the perspective of Cin. Because these novels are written in first person, I can’t write about things my main character hasn’t experienced, whether on her own or told to her by her partner, Harry O’Rourke, or others. I have to see it through her eyes. Try putting your life in the hands of an impulsive redhead who is going through a metamorphosis. (Okay, now maybe I understand why my family is beset by migraines.) But I love this world. It’s a dangerous one. Cin has to follow natural laws, and she has to depend on herself. There is no Angelo to catch her if she falls. Cin hits the ground, and she hits hard.
So why do I have a problem letting go of a completed novel? Aside from the nagging doubts about content and whether I remembered to put page numbers on the manuscript I sent, I have to exit a fictional world and reenter the one I live in. This world is a good one, but it is different. I can’t simply backspace when I say something stupid. I can’t insert a better explanation when the Webguy looks at me as if I’m speaking Dothraki. I can’t write a better wardrobe nor afford designer clothing. It takes a lot of adjustment, and just as I get comfortable being here, Murphy calls…