Starting a brand-new novel is exciting, nerve-wracking, and a little like trying to climb from the back of one horse to another–in the middle of a rushing river. Immediately after the release of my last book three weeks ago, I plunged into the next. And I do mean plunged in. This story was not planned. If not for one of the minor characters from “Electricity” waking me up in the middle of the night, arguing with her landlord, this book would never have been born.
But it was, and after scouring the photo sites for pictures of my characters, I quickly wrote character studies–goals, motivations, and conflicts–and got right down to the meat of the matter. The writing.
The first few days were rough. Although I wrote the first scene in a trance at two a.m. in the morning, it seemed more like taking dictation from the heroine than truly writing. After that, things got a little sticky. I was a uncertain about where the story was headed. I had all the basic elements down, but like a puzzle whose pieces are scattered on a tabletop, I wasn’t sure how they would all fit together.
My heroine is a hairdresser, and I do have some experience there. Back in the day, right after high school, I worked in a beauty salon for five years. But my hero is a German clock maker. Like, really German–immigrated only a few years ago. He speaks excellent English but is culturally very European. Fortunately, I have a good friend who lived for eight years in Germany. She speaks the language and has many friends there.
I have been bugging the hell out of her. Sorry, Shelley, but I will be mentioning you in the acknowledgments!
Then there’s the whole clock shop & museum thing . . . never been to one. Luckily, there is a clock museum just up the road from where I work. I’ve been there once already. I have the feeling I’ll be going back at least another time or two.
I got to about the 8000-word mark, stumbling and bumping my way along when something miraculous happened. I fell into their world. I’m there. Kim and Tomas have become very real people to me now, and I find myself wondering during my work day what they’re up to.
The writing has been flowing ever since. I’m hoping the flow continues. But I’ve found from previous experience that once I’m in their world, writing their story is as easy as taking notes.