I get this a lot when it comes to 1930. Three years is a long time to wait for the next book in the series. I am very grateful for those who have waited patiently. (Some not so patiently but I’m grateful for them too.) When I wrote 1929 it occurred to me toward the end of the book that there had to be another. It was just going on and on with no end in sight. Sitting down with Lisa to hammer out where to stop and where to pick up, it occurred to us that there had to be a third. That set me back a few weeks on finishing 1929. I needed a relatively clear road map on how to proceed. I actually started working on 1930 before I finished 1929. I wrote the reunion scene and the intervention scene among others. I had to be sure that our road map wasn’t steering us in the wrong direction and a trilogy was viable. So I stopped and wrote 40K in 1930. Still, it only took me 6 months to complete 1929 start to finish while working and homeschooling two boys and getting sidetracked with a plan for the next two books.
So what the hell took me so long to finish 1930!! Lots of things. Without too much boring detail, here’s a breakdown with my resolutions, (if any is to be had) to ensure it doesn’t ever take me this long again.
First, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic fatigue. It’s a real pain in the everywhere, let me tell you and there were days when I was good for nothing. I had to quit my job. I liked to say it was to come home and write full-time. While that wasn’t a lie, I physically couldn’t work full-time anymore. I tried handfuls of pills but they only made me stupid. I switched to turmeric and exercise.
(“Hey, Doc, my whole body hurts.” Doc says, “Go for a run.”) Damn quack.
I couldn’t run if Chippendales were pacing me with cheesecake.
Walking I could do for a little while. And that helped. What helps the most, ironically, is writing. Unfortunately I didn’t figure that out until a few months ago when I got serious about finishing 1930. I noticed that when I wrote for 8 hours a day, the pain relief lasted through the night and into the next day. Score!
I managed the remaining 65K words in 40 days.
Besides dealing with fibromyalgia, I went through some pretty intense depression (exasperated by fibro), put out a few other books unrelated to the series and then simply quit for a while. Looking back at my files, I didn’t write for eight months straight. During the worst of it, I totally gave up on 1929 and everything else I had planned. I deleted my website, shut down my Facebook and twitter and didn’t check my email. I just walked away. Lisa called me one night just in time to stop me from deleting the files for everything I had ever done. Yeah. That bad. What changed? I checked my email one day after months, (there were 1598 unread messages) and found some from readers that had taken the time to let me know how much they loved 1929 and were asking about 1930. Their energy and excitement was contagious. Suddenly I realized that I had put out a book with a gigantic cliffhanger and a few people, (maybe even six or seven) were waiting for the next one. I left everyone hanging. I didn’t mean to, it just happened. Guilt got me going, initially. I dusted off my mp3 player that had all my writing music. I started listening to it again. I’d get a little kernel of an idea, call Lisa and we’d roll it around. It was nothing like our energetic, spastic, giggly, wholly crap! plotting sessions, but it was a start. And it only took us a few months to get back to that. We’ve been there ever since. (giggle~spaz~giggle)
Other smaller issues that delayed me are needy cats, a special needs son, a newly teenage son, RV-ing for five months in order to save for a house, (That’s a whole crazy blog post in and of itself) husband’s career change, moving to a new state, renovating an old ‘fixer’ and reestablishing a routine.
But things have finally settled down. I have my desk set up in the kitchen where I prefer it and a computer that is mine alone. The cats are learning to deal and so are the sons. Husband’s got his own thing going on and the fixer is mostly fixed. The fibromyalgia is better in Northern Utah, which is one of the reasons we moved here. And even though I loved the green trees and being so close to the ocean in Washington, there is just something about the desert that puts my writing mind in overdrive. Book ideas come faster than I can get them out. And I promise to never take so long to put a book out again.