I have never had children. I have had multiple pets, and I love them like family, but that’s not the same as giving birth, changing diapers, watching them go off to school, etc. Many of my peers have become grandmothers and I find myself having grandchild envy. I dote on nieces and nephews and godchildren, but it’s not the same.
So I’ve never been pregnant. Yet right now, I feel like I’m expecting.
This week I received a contract from a literary publishing company. My upmarket women’s fiction manuscript, THE STONE NECKLACE, has been accepted by Story River Books, an imprint of the USC Press. The editor in chief? Pat Conroy.
I am thrilled. While I love mysteries, and will continue to write them, I wanted to cross genres. Literary fiction is HARD. This 110,000-word tome took several years to write, revise, revise again, and yet again… you get my drift. The multiple story lines had to be interesting and fresh. The narrative required more attention; word choice, sentence structure, descriptive devices were all carefully scrutinized by me and umpteen critiquers/editors. And yes, I have one more revision to go.
Writing this novel has changed my approach to my work in mysteries. I don’t let myself get lazy. I must reject canned metaphors, monotonous sentence rhythms, and cliché characters. The process takes longer than it used to and I was never a fast writer, but I’m more satisfied, eventually, with the results.
Will I try another literary project? Yes, but maybe not for a while. I need to recover from this project first, and I have a mystery in the works I’m anxious to complete.
My pregnancy will be a long one. After Story River Books gets my final revision, they will have work to do. The novel isn’t scheduled for release until Spring of 2016; that’s eighteen months before delivery!
I can’t wait, but I will. I’ll savor every month of the process: the cravings, the lost sleep, the excitement, and, ultimately, the birth. Then I’ll hold my baby and show it off to the world! And pray the reviewers love it as much as I do.
What’s it like when you’re expecting?