A one-word answer would never suffice, because I always work on multiple projects simultaneously.
Let’s rewind to December, 2017:
- I’m feverishly racing away at Saltwater Secrets (Summer, 2019, Simon & Schuster). I’m really in First Draft Mode, which means I go go go, because I have lots of plot threads and character ideas that I’m just dying to pull together. It’s kind of like when you dump a jigsaw puzzle on the table and you can’t stop for the day until the outside frame is done, because once you have that frame there’s some confidence that the rest of the puzzle will fill in.
- The editorial letter for Just Add Magic: Potion Problems (August, 2018, Simon & Schuster) arrives amidst the shaping of Saltwater, and I’m eager to work through the edits. So, I get Saltwater to a place where I want my agent’s. While she’s reviewing Saltwater, I edit Potion Problems.
- Since I finish Potion before having Saltwater back, I have a little time. During this time, I’m writing less – sometimes it’s nice to give my muses a rest. During this break, I’m playing with blog posts and sketching out nuggets of an idea from my recent visit to LA. I’ve been procrastinating with this one because I’m having trouble pulling all the different pieces of the puzzle into a frame. Without giving too much away, I’m trying to intersect Game Of Thrones, Wizard of Oz, Smurfs and Sausage Party, and it’s been a struggle.
I like to juggle and it benefits me in a few ways:
- SIMMERING: Some projects need to simmer. I believe Sydney Mackenzie Knocks ‘Em Dead (March, 2017, Simon & Schuster) is my best book, because it simmered for so many years. (You can read the story behind Sydney here.) Each time I picked it up the story got better and the writing improved. While I would never wish for any of my novels to be trunked to the extent that Sydney was, there is definitely value in letting a book simmer.
- CLARITY: Time away from a project helps me see it clearly. I build a deliberate break in my project timelines just to let sit. During this time I work on something else, or I might take a brief writing break. Once I’ve had weeks/months away from an idea or manuscript, I can see what’s working and what isn’t more clearly. The time away lets me see both the forest and the trees with fresh eyes.
Back to the question: What are you working on right now?
Answer: So much.
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