DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm going to beg your indulgence, dear REDS and readers, in the midst of our THRILLER FORTNIGHT, for a spot of personal indulgence.
This was a milestone week for me. One of many, yes, but still... On Monday night, I typed THE END on the 510th page of my 15th novel. (Like the little reverse number thingy, there?) I'd been working on this book for...well, longer than I should have. More than a year, which is not, unfortunately, unusual for me.
Of course, most writers whoop and shout with jubilation when they finally, finally get to type, or write, those words. There are all the desperately practical reasons to be glad you've reached the end of a novel--deadline pressure, publication schedules, the absence of any sort of normal personal life for weeks--or months--as we spend our days and nights chained to the keyboard. There's just plain physical exhaustion, and the little matter of bread and butter--most of us write to eat.
So celebration is more than due, and it can make us a little giddy. But there is always, for me, buried in the relief, a twinge of sadness. Mourning, even.
The book is not really finished--there are still what my English literature professor friend calls "the grubby details"--revision, copy edits, page proofs--so we know we'll be going back to it again and again, tweaking and fixing. But you are never IN the story, living your characters, in quite the same way.
You know how, as readers, you hate to get to the end of a book you really, really love? Even though you know you'll read it again, and you'll appreciate it in ways you didn't the first time, you hate letting go of that first total immersion in the story. That's a little like finishing a book feels to me.
The solution, of course, if obvious. Sit down and start the next one.
So, REDS, readers, is this a common experience? (If not, and I'm just dreadfully neurotic, break it to me gently...)
(P.S. I don't yet have the three winner's of Jon Land's Caitlin Strong novel, STRONG VENGEANCE, but come back on Sunday and I'll announce them.)