Which means, of course, that I haven't been able to do any writing for the past month. This has been quite frustrating as my next Molly Murphy book is due on May 1st and I have about 40 pages left to go.
I find the pattern with each of my books is the same. I don't outline. I start out not knowing much. In this case I knew the driving force behind the books was Freud's Interpretation of Dreams. This was a new theory at the time--that the symbols in our dreams can be a window to our subconscious. In my new book (which doesn't yet have a title, I'm afraid) a house has burned down, killing the occupants, but the daughter has been found safe and curled up in the back garden, apparently asleep. She has no recollection of what happened but is having vivid and terrifying nightmares. Molly's friend is called in to unlock these dreams.
So I start not knowing much. The first fifty pages of every book are pure panic. I tell myself that this story will never take shape, I'll be revealed as a failure and a phony. But I soldier on. As I approach 100 pages I see the story starting to form. At 150 I know where we're going. I breathe a sigh of relief. Then it's like a snowball gathering momentum as it runs downhill. I can't write fast enough. I'm dying to get to the story finished. So you can understand that it's been so frustrating for me to be so near the end and yet not able to finish it. At least I know what's about to happen and now I'll be able to sit at my desk and get it done. Then comes the polishing. The complete rewrite. The hard work.
I wanted to show you a little of where I'm up to, but I realized I didn't want to give away any of the plot twists that are going to shake up readers at the end of this book. So you're only going to get a few lines.
I felt relieved, almost elated as I came out of the building. I hadn’t been the one targeted after all. It had been Marcus Deveraux. And Daniel would have arrested the tutor and we could all breathe easier. I went home and resumed wifely duties, ironing my husband’s shirts and feeding my son his midday meal.
We had only just begun to eat when Daniel himself came in, sending a great gust of wind racing down the hall before him.
“This is a nice surprise,” I said, getting up to greet him. “What are you doing home at this hour?” The question ended warily because I had just remembered that his job was in jeopardy.
“I came to see if you’d like to go on a little trip with me tomorrow,” he said.
“Up to a place called Stoney Creek.”
“What for? What’s in Stoney Creek.”
“Not exactly in it. A couple of miles outside it, apparently. It’s a private institution for the insane, where Edward Deveraux was locked away. I thought I should take a look for myself and I’d appreciate another pair of sharp eyes.”
“Of course, I’d love to come,” I said. “Where is this?”
“North of Albany. We’d get off the train at Lake George and have to find transportation from there,” he said. He turned to his mother. “You can handle the boy for a day, can’t you, Mother?”
Daniel’s mother had already risen to her feet when he came in and was busy loading food onto a plate for him. She put it onto the table and indicated that he should sit and eat. As usual he complied, pulling out a chair and sinking onto it.
“She’s been handling Liam ever since she arrived,” I answered for her. “An absolute godsend. And Bridie’s a big help.”
“I expect we’ll manage all right,” Mrs. Sullivan said evenly as she put a glass of water next to her son’s place, “Only I’m not sure it’s wise taking Molly on a jolting train ride after what she’s been through.”
“I’ll be fine,” I said. “Almost healed.” Of course I really wanted to go and would never have admitted to the ache that still nagged at my side. I sat down again opposite Daniel as he took a bite of his meat pie. “But why now? Has something new transpired?”
So this was where I left it before I set off on a month long cross country jaunt. It's hard to get back into the feel of what I was writing, but I expect I'll be all right after a good night's sleep... in my own bed at last. And as for the title--I had tentatively called it Beautiful Dreamer. My editor and agent felt it wasn't edgy enough. So suggestions please. Something with the word Dream/dreamer/sleep in it, but with an edge. A copy of City of Darkness and Light for the best suggestion.