Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Looking Backward, Looking Ahead

Friday night, I had a dinner party with my cousin Fran,and my friends Marci (her husband was working and couldn't come), Cynthia and Joel. It was a great success because Marci brought the salad and dessert and Cynthia brought homebaked challah and wine and more dessert, so nobody much cared that the vegetable curry I made had no flavor whatsoever.

I did make chutney that helped hide the flavorlessness of the curry.

We talked and laughed and ate and had an excellent time. But the next morning I realized I'd forgotten to do something I'd planned on ever since I first knew I'd be having people over for dinner that night. I forgot to make a toast in honor of the sixth anniversary of my coming up with the idea for Life As We Knew It. It was Thanksgiving Saturday that I watched the movie Meteor on TV, and starting thinking about what it would be like to be a teenager living through a world wide catastrophe.

Sometimes I think about what would have happened if I hadn't seen Meteor that day, but it's too scary to contemplate. The best I can imagine is that my mind was ready to write, and if it hadn't been LAWKI, it would have been something else. But LAWKI and its companions, The Dead And The Gone and This World We Live In, have been such extraordinary experiences for me, both in the pleasure of actual writing and in the pleasure of actual money, that I can't conceive that any other idea at that moment of my life could have been nearly so successful.

Thanks to the royalty check I got a couple of weeks ago for all three books, I have enough money in the bank to last me for a while (unless I end up spending it all on Big Lots DVDs). I don't know which translated versions will come out when, but I'm awaiting seeing one or more of the three titles in French, Portuguese, Chinese and Bulgarian. And I discovered today, that the paperback of This World We Live In, due for publication next spring, already has an Amazon ranking. A whole new thing to obsess over in the months to come.

Today I mailed off what used to be called galleys and are now called first draft rough pages (which is a lot longer and far less poetic than galleys) of Blood Wounds. I hadn't looked at the book in a while, and I am such a sucker for my own writing that I actually got a little teary at a couple of places. Of course just because I love a book I wrote doesn't mean anyone else will, and I'm keeping my fantasies about how Blood Wounds will do at a very very low level. Not that I'll object to being pleasantly surprised if it does well.

Meanwhile my brain is continuing to play with my new book idea. I did a chapter outline, and it's pretty solid (there's always a little wiggle room in the middle of an unwritten book). I'd say I'll start it on Monday except my mother has a 2 PM appointment with Dr. Eye Doctor, which kind of cuts the day in half. I did decide if I was going to write the book, I'd work in the afternoons, as opposed to saying I'm going to work in the mornings and then dawdling the day away, only to start writing in the late afternoon.

My dream is to get the book written before New Year's, so I can officially be retired in 2011.

That should give me plenty of time to learn French and Portuguese and Chinese and Bulgarian. And maybe even time to learn how to make a vegetable curry with some flavor to it!


Nina said...

But we don't want you to tell us that you're *really* retiring! Let us cling to the thought that you might just take the plunge again :*) (Not that I begrudge anyone a retirement... I know I wish I could get there sometime soon!)

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Nina-

I think I've been fantasizing about retiring since I wrote my first book, and that was over 40 years ago.

I think at this point it's more a question of whether my brain will let me retire. But I'd like to give it a try and find out!

Elaine Marie Alphin said...

I'm simply overjoyed that you've chosen to go on the ride and actually write this new book! I know it's selfish, but I love being able to look forward to a new book by you. May you have a busy, productive December, with pages stacking up in your printer tray. Oh - and Happy Hanukkah!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thanks Elaine Marie Alphin and happy Chanukah to you and everyone else here.

Which reminds me. I'd better get out my menorah!