Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What Rhys is doing... probably sleeping.

RHYS BOWEN: If my post isn't quite as coherent as the preceding ones, I beg your indulgence. I just got home an hour ago from the last part of my book tour, after a three hour delay at the airport, due to bad weather in San Francisco. I have been on the road for most of the month of March, promoting my new Molly Murphy book, CITY OF DARKNESS AND LIGHT.

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.

            “A trip—where?”

            “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.


  1. Plot twists shaking things up? How exciting . . . and the whole interpreting dreams idea is really quite intriguing. I'm looking forward to Molly's next adventure . . . .

  2. Plot twist shaking things up? Why am I suddenly very afraid?

    As to the title? Edgy Dreamer? Sorry, I'm so bad at titles.

  3. Dream a Little Death of Me? Dream a Little Death for Me? I Dream of Death/Disaster/Blood? Subconscious Death? Smoke Gets in Your Dreams? Beautiful Dead Dreamer? Dunno. Like Mark, I'm not that good with titles. Sorry.

  4. "Deadly Dreamer"? "Perhaps to Dream"? "What Dreams May Come"?

  5. To Sleep, Perchance to Dream?

  6. Oh, this sounds very intriguing Rhys. Love that the back story involves Freud's new theory.

    How about Dream Weaver? Or No More Sleep? Or The Endless Sleep?

    Hope that you got some rest and are fully recovered from your travels.

  7. It's always wonderful to hear that so many other authors out there experience the same panic and fear when writing their books. Things always work out, however, but it proves we're not alone. Thanks for a great post, and good luck with the upcoming release. Catch up on the rest and keep looking forward!

  8. What fun to get a window into your process Rhys:). I bet it will feel wonderful to work up this morning and get back to work. The Beautiful Dreamer book sounds fascinating...

  9. Sleep No More? (As a title -- Rhys, I hope you're getting LOTS of sleep!)

  10. Welcome home, Rhys! I hope it's good news that we're all looking forward to your next book!

  11. Rhys, so glad you're home! Hopefully the earthquakes won't follow you!

    The Edge of Dreams?

    The End of Dreams?

    I, too, am fascinated by the idea of using Freud's dream theories into the plot.

    And I have absolutely no doubt that you can write forty pages in a month!

  12. Welcome home. I'm sure you'll be able to pound out those forty pages once you get some shut-eye.

    Like Terri, I'm glad to hear other writers experience that initial panic and "this is it, I'm outed as a fraud" feeling at the beginning. I suspect Daniel and Molly will find more than they bargained for in Stoney Creek.

    I'd love to help wit the title - except I kind of suck at them myself. Always the hardest part for me.

  13. I've discussed the To Sleep, Perchance to Dream title with my editor, as I really liked it, but it was felt that the word Perchance made it sound like a romance novel. Too bad.
    The Edge of Dreams? I love that, Deb.

  14. It's interesting that even in those last 40 pages, you can still surprise yourself! How about Dream's Dark Window?

  15. I'm a bit late to sound original, but Dreaming at the Edge comes to mind.

  16. I liked that excerpt Rhys. How about River of Dreams? Titles attract or repel, but I'm no good at thinking them up. Lucy, I just read your first Key West food critic book. Loved it!

  17. Rhys, too funny. I was just thinking before I checked in again that I liked "The Edge of Dreams." Maybe your editor will like it, too.

    Too bad you can't use "Dreaming of the Bones" :-)

  18. Smoke Dreams

    Dreams Come True

    No Small Dreams (-Goethe)

    Interpreting Dreams (- Freud)

    Dreams of Yesterday

    Sleepers Wake

    ----- Anyway, the book sounds magnificent, and I am in awe of the work you do for your loyal readers.

  19. Everyone else is much more creative than I am. How about "The Edge of Dreaming?"
    "To Sleep; to Dream"
    "Dreaming a Deep Sleep"

    Thank you for writing, Rhys. Now, talking about sleep, I hope you get some.

  20. Rhys,

    Possible titles:

    1) Perchance to Dream

    It's a line from Shakespeare's Hamlet.


    2) Dreaming of Smiling Irish Eyes or something like that.

    ~ Diana

  21. I don’t think titles are my forté . . . trying to be "edgy," these are the best ones I can come up with:
    A Pool of Bitter Dreams
    Cruel Sleep
    Savage Dreams
    Or, combining the last two, Cruel Sleep and Bitter Dreams

  22. The Edge of Dreaming?

    Dreams End

    Before I Wake

    When Dreams May Come

  23. And I'm so--relieved to read this, Rhys. Just this morning I was saying to Jonathan: I'm 70 pages in, but I have NO IDEA. It's like--yammer yammer yammer.

    And he told me "You ALWAYS say that! "

    Maybe. ButI forgot. So--with ya, sister. (And we'll make it great in the edits, so --no worries. Bwa ha ha...) xoox

  24. Deb, wouldn't you like to lend me Dreaming of the Bones, Part Deux?
    But I really like The Edge of Dreams. Suggesting to my editor right now!

  25. If a title is still needed, how about Dreaming Fire?

  26. I so enjoy hearing the Reds talk about their writing processes. Rhys, you may not start knowing where you're going, but your end product is always amazing. Loved the excerpt and am so looking forward to the next Molly.

    A note concerning City of Darkness and Light. One of local reading buddies was complaining to me yesterday that she has had this book on hold at the local library for what seems like ages. To quote her, "I've never had to wait this long for a book before." Since I know that they have more than one copy, her wait can only mean that there are many people reading the book, hence the delay. My friend mentioned that she thought she was just going to buy it, and I encouraged that action, of course. I can't lend her my copy, as, unfortunately, she has not proven quite OCD enough with previous lends.

    Title for your book. I, too, like The Edge of Dreams. I had thought of the dramatic, Dream No More, or milder, Dreaming for Life.

  27. Rhys, only if it's set in Oxford:-)

  28. I am one of the lucky ones to have been first on the hold list for a copy of City of Darkness and Light at my library. The library is a godsend since my budget can't cover all the wonderful books I want to read. By getting it at the library, I can satisfy my need to read it now and then buy it later once money is not so tight.

    I love 'The Edge of Dreams', but here are a few:

    Darkly Dreaming or Dreaming Darkly
    The Darkest of Dreams
    The Frailty of Dreams
    Sleeping in Shadow

  29. I like the Edge of Dreams, too.
    Or the one I'd thought of, which was very close to that actually—Dreams Edge.

  30. What was that old TV show... The Edge of Night.

  31. Yeah, The Edge of Dreams did make me think of The Edge of Night. Not sure that is a good thing.

    However, I do like The Dream's Edge.

    Titles are just so subjective!