I do so hate finishing books. I would like to go on with them forever. Beatrix Potter
Finishing books—and leaving the world you've created—is always a kind of emotionally wrenching experience. I usually cry. Lauren Oliver
Last week I turned in the manuscript for The Art of Betrayal, the third book in the Kate Hamilton Mystery series. It's not finished. Rounds of edits come next, but pushing send is a milestone marking the end of something cherished. Here's a glimpse:
American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is spending the month of May in the Suffolk village of Long Barston, filling in at her friend Ivor Tweedy's antiquities shop while he recovers from bilateral hip surgery. Kate is thrilled when a local recluse consigns a valuable Chinese pottery jar from the ancient Han dynasty—until the jar goes missing and a body turns up in the middle of a village pageant celebrating an eleventh-century folktale. As Detective Inspector Tom Mallory leads the investigation, Kate begins to see puzzling parallels between the crimes and the local legend. The more she learns, the more convinced she becomes that the solution to both crimes lies in the murky depths of Anglo-Saxon history and a generations-old pattern of betrayal.
After spending more than nine months with my characters, I'm feeling disoriented. And not a little homesick.
For me, the closest real-life parallel is the feeling I had when my oldest son left on the school bus for his first day of kindergarten. I waved madly (and cried) as the bus lumbered down the street, turned left, and vanished. My precious little boy was on his own.
My book will have to make its way in the world, too. Of course, I plan to help it along as much as I can. But months of living, breathing, and dreaming about this story have come to an end.
A fourth book is in the works—one that must be planned, plotted, written, and polished. That will take time, and I'll fall in love with that story, too.
But first I need a few days to mourn the book I've left behind.
Have you ever felt homesick for a book you've read or written?