I typed ‘The End’ on Storm Watch: Book Three in the Unfinished Business series a week ago. The gift of a late winter snowstorm, and an unexpected day off, allowed me to finish the final edits. Multiple challenges made this the hardest book of my writing career to complete. I didn’t have the melancholy many writers describe when they have to pull themselves out of the story–and their characters’ lives, even when it’s a happily ever after. Until I did the formatting, uploaded the manuscript, and sent it off to my editor.
I now have this big void in my head: no more flashes of inspiration on how to perfect a scene. No insights on how the friends that my characters have become over the last ten years react to the challenges they’re facing. No more anxiety about finishing the story-and what is likely to be the last book in the series. The melancholy returned as I went about my business and realized that there is a part of me in every single one of them–and that there are pieces of the challenges I face in each of their’s.
They’ve had health crises, lost pets and loved ones, faced turmoil in their worlds, and weathered both meteorological and emotional storms. They have scars, visible and invisible, that affect how they act and react. This makes them feel real to readers, because they are very real to me.
Thirteen years is a long time to live with someone and have to not only say goodbye, but also to abandon them to immerse myself in someone else’s world for the next story in a different series. Of course, I can pick up the books and read them any time. And all three books are set on Cape Cod, where I spend much of my summer vacation. The inspiration for all three books came to me while sitting on the beach, and perhaps I will meet Mike, Liz, Mae, Kevin and their friends there again this year–and Book Four in the Unfinished Business might be born.
Mike and Liz thought they’d gotten control of the specters haunting the Barrett Inn. But things get very complicated when they’re the ghosts from your past life. The Category Five Hurricane bearing down on Cape Cod appears to be headed directly for them–or has it been spawned from inside them?
Jared was stirring up a tempest, and Mike couldn’t sit still any longer. “I wish I could get there, Liz, but it isn’t like that for me. Jared is like this annoying son of a bitch pushing me off a barstool. No matter how many times I tell him to get lost and get back in the seat, he does it again.”
He got out of bed and paced. “And what’s worse, he makes me do things and say things that I’ve never done–like yell at you. I’ll never forgive myself on the night we got home from England and I was way too rough.” Shame spread through him like a stomach virus.
“And that’s why I’m telling you all this. When Jared and you become one, it’s hard to separate yourself. But if you embrace the presence of the ghost it might be cleansing.”
Mike wished he could look out a window and take a breath of fresh air, instead of feeling like he was locked in a coffin, and trying to get out. “This afternoon, it was pretty terrible to be inside the poor bum he became, because Elisabeth decided to follow Edward into the ocean instead of being his lawfully wedded wife. He’s hell bent on not letting Elisabeth go. There just might be a ghostly duel.”