I just typed the final sentence of Losing Penny. I love this story.
My novel The Rhyme’s Library is in the sweaty hands of my beta readers. I love them for reading this book. It has a date with the editor next week. I don’t love this story. It began in 2004 when my babies started kindergarten—the year I put aside all excuses and devoted myself to daily writing. Today is the last day of my babies’ junior year of high school. Yeah, it’s been that long. And that’s okay.
A million and one things have happened since I began The Rhyme’s Library. My children grew up, most of them have graduated from high school, two have college degrees and one has a doctorate. Two missionaries. One death. Two weddings. Two grandbabies. Scholarships. Trophies. A job change.
I took too many writing classes and workshops to count. I won awards in writing competitions and I was invited to a writing workshop in New York. I joined an amazing writing group and I found two extraordinarily talented critique partners.
And the story went through changes, too. When I started the book, I wanted to be Elizabeth George, and my style reflected her dark writing. Its title changed from A Basement in Harmony, to A Library in Rhyme, to The Rhyme’s Library. Blair, my main character, used to be Claris. The town of Rose Arbor, used to be Harmony and then Rhyme. I worked on The Library for three years and then put it in a drawer for five years. The one thing that didn’t change much at all was Drake—Blair’s bad boyfriend.
I’m not sure what made me resurrect Drake and make him the hero of Losing Penny—my eighth completed novel that I wrote in five months. (I’m getting faster! Although, I don’t think I’ll ever be very fast.) I guess I fell in love with Drake and couldn’t leave him so wretched and pathetic as he was in the ending of The Rhyme’s Library. He’s definitely a flawed hero, while Penny is practically perfect. And Richard? He has to die. So sad.
I hope to have both The Rhyme's Library and Losing Penny published this summer and I’ve told myself that I won’t start another book until September. I’m devoting July to editing and marketing. Yawn. And August will be busy and full of family and vacations. So I absolutely can’t start on Rose’s story until school starts again—my babies’ senior year of high school—even though Richard’s death is worrying me…Maybe I’m more Elizabeth George than I thought. (I wish.)