What a pleasure it is to already have people wondering when Girls Wearing Black Book 4 will be done!
Of course, at this point, the best answer is ‘I don’t know.’ An equally candid but vague answer is, ‘As quickly as I can get it done.’
Last fall, I told people asking about Book 3 that I would love to have it done by the end of February. Ten drafts later, I published it in July.
It’s just so tricky to say. Sometimes the stories come together quickly. Other times, I have to keep fiddling for a while.
Those of you who have read The Rose Ransom may recall the scene where Renata gives a dramatic performance for the students. All the early drafts of the book got stuck at that scene. I knew I wanted the legend of The Rose Ransom to be a dramatic performance (a ‘play within a play’ ala Hamlet), but nothing I tried seemed to work. I had students performing the play in the first attempts. Annika had a major role in the performance in draft 1.
I had Renata’s slaves putting on the play in later attempts, with Frankie taking centerstage. Later, I tried writing that scene with a group of vampires as the performers. In that attempt, I realized the potential of a group of vampires putting on a play and how they might use their powers to manipulate the audience. This is where the scene started to work, but still wasn’t quite correct.
It wasn’t until late in the process that it came to me to let Renata put it on as a one-woman show. Once I tried that, it worked like a charm.
And now, on my laptop, I have hundreds of pages of discarded attempts to write The Rose Ransom play.
Contrast that with ‘The Scrum’ scene that comes right before the performance. The Scrum was a one and done piece of writing. Once I decided I wanted that scene in the novel, I sat down and banged out all 6,000 words of it in an afternoon. Nothing more than a bit of editing and that scene was finished.
So, for Book 4, if I have a lot of scrums, the book will be finished in a month or two. But if I run into a couple Rose Ransom performances, well, then it gets harder to quote a date.
Still, I hate to be totally vague when people really want to know, and today I’m going to tell you that my goal is to publish Book 4 by mid-November. For selfish reasons, I would love to get it out into the world in time for the holiday season. Last November and December I had a huge surge of paperback sales. I’d love to have another paperback in the mix for this season’s surge.
So please know that I am striving for that date. But also know that I wouldn’t dream of putting anything out there that’s less than my best. The Scrum scene made me happy on the first draft. The Rose Ransom performance didn’t. The same goes for Book 4. I want it to be in your hands ASAP, but I also want it to be the best book I’ve got in me, no matter how many drafts it takes.
Back to work! November looms!