Thursday, April 7, 2011

When The Shade Of The Moon Meets The Sleep Of The Pill

As you may know, inspired by your poll votes and comments, I've been playing with an idea for a fourth moon book. Playing with is clearly not the same as working on, since I refuse to commit to work until I find out if Houghton Mifflin Harcourt wants a fourth moon book. They have standards too, you know.

But I do love playing with ideas, and mostly I've been thinking in terms of setting The Shade Of The Moon 15-18 years later (or as I fondly think of it, Peyton Place The Next Generation). This would allow me to catch up with all the characters while seeing what the world looks like and having teens as my focal point.

But I noticed the character that was intriguing me the most was Alex. I kept picturing him as angry, angry at Miranda, once he finds out the truth, angry at God, angry at the government, angry even at Julie, but most of all angry at himself. Anger like that might not last 18 years, but it would affect who he becomes. I had a glorious moment or two of picturing Alex as a terrorist, but I also thought of him as a community organizer, and also a successful politician.

Last night I bumped into one of those can't fall asleep nights (blame it on the excitement of American Idol's Top 9- Paul's dazzling teeth alone could cost one an hour's sleep), and I got to thinking about Alex again, and what becomes of him smack after This World We Live In. Once Miranda tells him the truth, he'd break away (he has the least at stake in remaining with the Evans family unit), to go off and be angry. Well, angry young men are at a premium in the post LAWKI world, so I imagined him doing all kinds of highly dangerous work, and because he doesn't care if he lives or dies, becoming almost legendary in the jobs he accomplishes.

Then I thought of my dream matchup, Miranda from Life As We Knew It and Chris Flynn from The Dead And The Gone, and I came up with a way they might meet. Then I started thinking about how people would be writing letters all the time, which is just as much fun as writing diary entries, maybe even more fun, because Miranda could write a letter and so could Jon and so could Alex and anyone else I wanted to write letters for and The Shade Of The Moon would be a collection of their letters.

The next thing I knew I was popping sleeping pills in a struggle to fall asleep (which is after all what sleeping pills are for), but my mind was still racing. Things get a little hazy at this point, but it would seem I got up and typed some notes, just in case I wouldn't remember what I'd come up with between 1/2 and 1 full pill.

Now I know there are those of you who hate spoilers, but I don't see any of this as spoilers given that I don't even know if HMH will ever want a fourth moon book, not to mention that the brief description I gave of one in an email was more Peyton Place the Next Generation than Miranda/Alex and Co. one year later. But if you don't want to read the following notes, feel free not to. And if you do read them and still don't understand, well, that's what sleeping pills do to the creative, restless, bad typing mind!


Miranda is pregnant and tells Alex the truth about Julie’s death. Alex is enraged and cannot delal with Miranda, He goes away to dangerous locations, and is in a statet of ratge, whih he works through by taking on the most dangerous tassks- suicidal explosoions of ovoklandodo a dbd wirb in highly nuclear reastor plants, Each job he gets there is an assumpton he will be survive, but a t he does, his lesson and fame inceases.

Jon goes ijto the safe town but find its veryundomfortabke, and seazies a chance at an aeducation as a physicial sassistant, sartting at atge 16, He leadsv gthe safe town to to go the school, and there meets Dris fliyynm who believes in talking about th past, and rereverals hi connection to Ales, and wishes to get back tin trouhc with hin, Chris suggested using Miranda as a go belieteween.

Nirada neantime hs gotten a gjobm maybe thgrough Haon’s health teachting skating and skwining t the kids in the safe tiow, Sje lives outside of town with mom and dad abut has a card that allows her access to the safe townm as slong ashs she leaves each night. A family that has lot chuildene is informed of her daugther Juliet and suggests they be abkkiwed ti aditot her, Nurabda ciykd serve as west nurse and hen babby nurse for Julies first two years or so, until they could get a proper nanny for her, They would help set Miranda up with a husband so she coulc sart a a family of her ow,=, and if she were abke ti concentric herself sge cikd ve k=limited contact with Juliet, who of course would not be known she wss her nother. Then Lisa dies ian a pandemic, one whih traps Miranda in the twon and Juliet outside with Mom. /the family agreeds to adopte gabe as well, assuring Miranda and dad that the children would e brought up to understand the are kid, Miranda cold stay with the children unil they are 4, at want hoint, she would leave the familu. Dad supports this idea as being best for the children; Mom is opposed. Oppossiley Mom dies in the thir pandemic.

At somoe point Chris comes to the ssafe town and meets Mirnada. Tney;ve already exchanged letters, bt they find hey ae very tttrachd t each oher, When Alex find s out this provokes a severe reaction in him since he was aways comeptietornve with Chris in hisgh scool and now he’s losing ht o erh again.

No wond on Matt abd Syll how left right away so hey wouldn;’tbe stuck with Mom all the time, Maybe Momn founds ou what’s hppening with her dna work, helping bringing families together buy tryacking their names and dna, as different arts of the countri are made livaeabe again

Vyt bbiijss end, maybe Miranda is raising Juliet and Gabe with Chris, or maube possibly Alex.Mom mau be died in he third pandemic. Conditions are slowly getting more stablelsnf Dvooyrt yhinkd zi h


ETA(and an oh dear ETA it's about to be). I should have spell checked before putting the notes in. Poor blogspot is gonna have a nervous breakdown!

49 comments:

Mr. Cavin said...

Now I don't know whether I want to hire a Physical Sassistant or a West Nurse more.

But I do know this: assuming that I get to make the untold part of the story story up in my own head, Miranda will never, ever tell Alex the truth if you don't write a fourth book. Alex will feel mad and guilty for not preventing these bad things and go off anyway, and Miranda will be a little happy to see him go, curdled up inside a little and guilty for both her actions and her lie--but also feeling a little bit proud of this ruthlessness she assumes makes her as selfless and competent as her mother. None of the post moon stress disorder teens can ever understand the crop of blithe generation apocalypse kids that start coming along the next winter. Ultimately, a tenacious humanity survives just fine while a blasted group of hollow-eyed survivors never quite escapes the ghost of the world they've left behind.

Course my imagination isn't YA (see first paragraph).

qwertyuiop said...

Absolutly epic ideas. I should be doing homework but I decided to stop by this blog and now I don't wanna go back. And the spellin errors make it that much more exciting.
Jon

Fear Death By Water said...

la la la la skipping past the potential spoilers.


but you keep writing and I'll reading (and buying too)

Elaine Marie Alphin said...

Aren't sleepless nights wonderfully productive? Forget those sleeping pills - they can have the unfortunate side effect of inhibiting creativity by putting you to sleep, or even messing up your typing.

Actually, the spelling errors just make your ideas all the more intriguing.

One thought - Alex's anger makes perfect sense. But - Miranda would know that, because she knows Alex so well. So would she really tell him, suspecting it would set him on such a self-destructive course? Good people often keep secrets, or even tell lies, to protect those they love.

I'm excited to see how this all works out. Please don't abandon Hart while you're playing with fourth book ideas, however!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Happy Friday morning to Mr. Cavin, qwertyuiop (whose name I have just learned how to spell) Fear Death By Water and Elaine Marie Alphin-

Books are the most fun when they're in the early planning stages. Of course since I still haven't heard from HMH, who may well not want a fourth book, it's silly to be planning.

But by now you all know me. This morning, after Scooter woke me up (and you all know Scooter as well), I had a lovely time working out the logistics of getting people into and out of safe towns. Forget character development; I just want to rule the world.

And don't worry about my abandoning Hart. I'll be doing some rewrites on it this afternoon. I was telling my cousin Ellen about it yesterday, and she approved of the basic premise. But about halfway through my detail by detail plot discrption, she claimed she had to go eat supper, and oddly enough, she never called back!

Jenny S. Morris said...

Lies fester. They eat away at you until the corrode your insides. This is under normal circumstances. In the world of that Miranda lives in, it would expounded by the harsh reality and conditions she had to live in. So time for the lie to fester would be good, more than a year. Also, getting to know a new generation of kids that have never known anything but a world full of ash and hunger would be interesting. Those are my 2 cents, take them for what they are worth.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello Jenny S. Morris and thank you for your two cents-

Right now I'm undecided whether to write about what happens immediately (or close to immediately) afterwards or to write about the next generation.

Since I still haven't heard from my publisher that they're interested, this could prove to be quite the moot point!

Meanwhile my word verification is "lennon." I have to admit though my favorite was "harrison."

Lisa-Marie Jordan said...

From what I could make out, I love the ideas for the book! Also, I particularly enjoy the fact that you didn't fix the typos! Happy Writing!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hallo Lisa-Marie Jordan-

To fix the typos I'd have to understand the typos. I guess most of them I do, but that last one (Dvooyrt yhinkd zi h) is as much a mystery to me as it is to you!

Anonymous said...

I'd always wondered if Miranda would get pregnant with Alex's child. Kind of glad to see you're thinking that way, too. Is the kid's name Julie or Juliet? A little hard to decipher.

I also thought that Miranda would go into medicine -- I saw her more as a nurse practitioner/midwife, trained especially for a time and place where there will probably be a doctor shortage for decades to come: sort of like a "granny doctor".

I was also wondering along the lines of this thought: what if some of the people (especially the men) who survived the flu ended up sterile? Would Matt be affected? What gave me this idea was that George Washington never had kids because in his teens he'd gotten one of those childhood illnesses that nowadays a lot of kids are vaccinated for.

I'll stop for now. But you DID start the conversation, after all.

Anonymous Santa Fe

Nina said...

Wow. Any of the above sounds good to me, but I think that a little bit later rather than right after the last book makes more sense. It's all very exciting!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Good Sunday morning to Anonymous Santa Fe and Nina-

This may come a a shocking declaration to you, but I have no idea what I'm doing! Sometimes I think let's set the book immediately after and sometimes I think let's set it the next generation.

Mostly at this point I think let's wait to see if the publisher is going to want a fourth book, and then we can make our decisions!

Anonymous said...

But hopefully, if a fourth book is greenlighted, some of our suggestions have been able to help you flesh out your admittedly spell-challenged potential outline.

Anonymous Santa Fe

Julie said...

I just finished This World We Live In and had to find out if there is a 4th book. Found your blog (which I love!) and just wanted to say Hello. Hopefully there will be a 4th moon book. Great story and characters! I think the like the idea of looking into the future 20 or so years and catching up with the current character and meeting some new. Thanks for writing such wonderful books!

kay said...

I hope your publisher contacts you soon! I like the pregnant idea but not chris and miranda falling in love . I think it would be to hurtful to alex if that happened and where is carlos in all of this.I think miranda should just turn out to be a single mom. I think you should start the story immediently from where you left Off! Thanx for writing such fantastic Books!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello (again) to Anonymous Santa Fe and hello for the first time to Julie and kay-

It's fun to play with possibilities and there are strong cases to be made for picking up the story where I left things (give or take a few months) or letting the characters age and ripen before revisiting them.

It's always good to have options!

Anonymous said...

This idea is just so amazing. I hope that your publishers approve so you can start working on it right away! I would prefer the next generation but whatever you see fit!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thank you Anonymous!

Rebecca said...

I just read This World We Live In. Good thing I didn't have to work yesterday, because I couldn't put your book down.

Just as good--and heartbreaking!--as the other two. Loved them all!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thank you Rebecca!

Anonymous said...

Do you have an actress in mind to play your character in a remake of Valley of the Dolls? "The next thing I knew I was popping sleeping pills..."

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Anonymous-

My guess is the actresses who should have played me (Garbo,Lamarr, Zasu Pitts) are all in the Valley of the Shadow by now!

Tosha said...

I work at target and was backstocking your books 'Life as we Knew It' and 'The Dead and Gone' They caught my attention and i read the back of book and was attached it at once. I bought them both that day and loved them so much I am going to get the 3rd book and cant wait to read it. Please keep writing moon books! They are my favorite since Harry Potter! I love them!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Tosha and thank you-

I hope I get to write a fourth moon book. I know I'm having a great time working out a plot for one!

Anonymous said...

I literally JUST finished reading this World We Live In, and immediatly got on my beloved google to search for a fourth book. I like your basic premise, and I agree Anger would change Alex. but really, I dislike the idea of Miranda And Chris falling in love. Being attracted to one other, possibly, and this angers Alex even more-- love that. I don't want Chris to be raising Alex's child with Miranda. That's just wrong to me. I'm probably ruining your plot, but demanding fans like me know what they want!

Anonymous said...

I finished This World We Live In yesterday and I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT THE ENDING IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I love the ideas, but I don't think that Miranda should break up with Alex! I want a fourth book and I hope that HMH wants a 4th book! I like your books so far! I know that this would never work out, but, I wish another asteroid hit the moon again and knocked into a position where life became normal again, at least similar! :D

Hooked in Boston said...

I kinda fell into your books about the moon. I was in my wife's office which is at HMH, Boston and was waiting for her to finish some work before we could go home. It took her about an hour and during that time I picked up your "The Dead and the Gone". I think I had half the book read before I left. I then went out and got the other two books. I really hope that You continue the series with a fourth or even fifth book. Maybe the fourth book to continue the last and then a follow up one like you said a few more years in the future. I loved the whole story and the interaction of the characters. Thanks again for such a great read.

Anonymous said...

I so want a fourth book! But im not so sure about a few things... i don't really want it to be to far in the future only like 1 or 2 years, and i think that alex should break up with miranda and ends up leaving her, but after a few months they find eachother again and have so much love for eachother, but i will leave it up to you because your the writer anyways! Im just hoping i will love it like all the others, which im sure i will! And love me some Alex!(;

Anonymous said...

Wonderful book series!! I absolutely loved the books, and am really hoping you will be allowed to produce a fourth! I agree with the person above me, though. I think that the fourth book should take place not too far up in the future. Maybe it could take place 1-3 years later. Whatever you write, though, I am guaranteed to absolutely fall in love with! Can't wait until fall of 2012! Wish it would hurry up! One more thing: I never really imagined Alex as a man who would do anything dangerous or harmful; in the second book it described him as a young and ambitious man. But then again, the world is ending, so I guess that could do that to a person. And a few other thing happened, but I don't want to be a spoiler...but whatever you write, I'll looovvve! You are like genius when it comes to writing novels! Thanks so much!!

teenreaderexpress said...

Dear Susan Beth Pfeffer,
Usually when I admire a writer I e-mail them, because their blogging is infrequent/cluttered/unrelated. This is one of the first times I've seen a writer actually respond to comments on their blog and it made me so happy to read about a possible fourth book!!! When I read Life As We Knew It, I was staying in my mom's bosses Malibu beach condo, and was immediately shaken up by the fact that if Life As We Knew It events happened, I'd be soooo dead. Every few months I revisit the books (especially right before the supposed Rapture when I figured being in the know about what to grab at a grocery store might come in handy hahaha) Anyways, I wanted to tell you that even if your publishers don't show interest, please keep prodding at them and telling them about the possible awards/glitz/glam. Your books are always on prominent display in any respectable teen aisle at Barnes and Nobles booksellers across LA, and formerly, at Borders. I once created a sort of "roleplay writing" website based on your books, which fell through when I glitched on some of the site coding, but before the site was even officially open, eight people somehow heard of it and had joined. All were so eager to be able to write their own moon stories because we all thought that YOU were completely done with Miranda, Alex, and the rest. This all happened in one day, I'll have you know. If you can imagine the support my fledgling never-was website garnered in a few hours, you can imagine the huge outcry of teen readers who would be excited if they found out about the possibility of a fourth book (which they prolly haven't because unlike me, they don't stalk author blogs, sucks for them!) Please write another one! Also, I just wanted to point out that I have a hard time believing Alex and Miranda would be baby-making if they weren't married (Miranda because of her parents being alive and wanting commitment, and Alex as respect to his dead family and God?) and I have a hard time believing Miranda would marry Alex before telling him about his sister. And another tip: I'd be more interested, as a teen, by the idea of reading from a teens perspective, so if you do end up making Miranda pregnant and Alex bitter and wild, their minds wouldn't appeal to mine so much. My suggestion is that if you do end up writing a fourth book, you take it from Miranda's little brother's head. It would especially be interesting to see his perspective on the safe city compared to being with his family, his feelings after the death of Alex's little sister, maybe even him forgetting what it was like to be a kid in the normal world, because he was the youngest when the moon event happened. If you write twenty years into the future or some amount like that, I'd suggest again that you write from a teen point of view and fade the older characters out, except maybe Lisa + Dad's baby, who would be a young adult by then as well. The author of "In the Forest of Hands and Teeth" did a great job with her sequels because she incorporated first-book characters as parents and guardians to the younger generation, spun a few side-plot romances, but made it clear she was writing about an entirely new cast of younger characters who came from different backgrounds, etc.

Thanks anyways :) please just keep writing!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi teenreaderexpress and thank you for your comment-

Check my blog on July 21 (aka tomorrow) to learn how I'm dealing with the 4th moon book.

I won't reveal everything, but there should be enough for you to get a sense of what I'll be doing!

Stephanie said...

Love the ideas!! I would absolutely love to read a forth book. I thought it would also be really cool if you did a fourth book from Alex's perspective, as the second book was.

I discovered the first book when a local Borders was having a huge going-out-of-business sale a month or so ago. Last week I picked it off my book shelf and couldn't put it down! I immediately went out and got the next two. I finished the series in a week! I would really love to read more!

Anonymous said...

Can I just say, amazing books! All of the ideas are fantastic! But, I really do have to agree with Elaine Marie Alphin, Miranda knows Alex too well to tell him (Or maybe I just think they are a match made in heaven, but thats besides the point)

Reader 901 said...

I love this series!!!! I will be extremely mad at HMH if they don't publish your book. I've gotten my friends, mom, and grandma to read the three books and we all want the fourth. We should start a Miranda and Alex fan club!!!!

I have emailed you before this so I'm not just random. :D

Anonymous said...

I just LOVE this series and i sahll cry if the fourth book doesn't come out!! they're just TOO addictive and i just read the 3 of them in 3 days! 1 book each day that is.. well i like your idea but i REALLY think alex and miranda are a cute couple and i don't qant to see them brrak up.. maybe at first he'll feel angry at her but then he'll realize that he's not doing the right thing and they forgive each other somehow.. well i don't want to bother you at all because after all it won't be a book that we're eager to read if we're just gonna tell you what to put in it.. so i'll just leave it up to your imagination and i know you'll come up with something great! thanks for everything and PLEASE DO WRITE THAT fourth book somehow i BEG YOU!

big fan :)

Anonymous said...

Considering the last comments on this post were 6 months ago...have you been given permission to write a fourth book??? (or possibly 5 or 6) I loved the first three, and can not wait for a fourth!!! I also think the books should be made into a movie!!! About your ideas... I know it probably doesn't matter what one person says, but I really think Alex and Miranda should stay together. It only seems right!!! If he really loved her, he would forgive her. Plus he would of done it also if he saw what Julie was going through. Thanks and can't wait to hear what you say!!!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am a mother of four. My two youngest children, ages 13 and 15 read and loved your books. They constantly begged me to read them but I was too busy until resently. Before I go into how much we all loved your books let me share something with you. My husband and I both lost our jobs for about 8 months and we were having to live very differently than either children were used to. Food was the toughest to buy and the hardest to explain as to why there wasn't much. You may ask as to what this has to do with your books and I will explain... My two children were totally changed after reading about the families. I guess they decided if the children/teens in your books were strong enough to help out and survive, then so too were they! I didn't understand, though I was very proud at how grown up and helpful they were being, it wasn't until later when I talked to them about it that they explained how things could always be worse and that we were lucky they weren't. It's then that I read your books and understood. My children don't at all feel paranoid about life changing or ending, but they do claim to be able to survive if it does. Being without a paycheck for months showed me it was true. We are all working and doing well now but I really wanted to thank you personally. In an odd yet very real way your books helped us during a dark time. I have recommended this book to all my friends and their children and we all do hope for a fourth as well! :)

pokemecreator said...

miss pfeffer
i realy enjoyed this world we live in will there be a fourth book if so when will the realise date be ps im 13 in 8th graade and read the whole series so far

Debra said...

I think that this idea would end up in a really great book. Maybe not 15-18 years later, but i absolutely LOVE the idea! Please try to write this.

nathan said...

i think it would be really cool if Miranda's daughter or son, writes diary about her family and her life she can talk about her mom and dad, aunt ,uncle, step grama her baby even about her grama and grampa. she can talk about what she knows about the old days and how she and he mom (Miranda) get i fights and makes her study, she can talk about how she grow up and storys her mom told her about growing up and if the every went back to mrs. nesbits or howel brige road, i think it would tell you about the new genaratons

Anonymous said...

I think your ideas are very good and I cant believe that there might be a 4th book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still want Miranda and Alex to be together though. If they break up I would be very very sad so please keep them together!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Anonymous said...

Please Please write the 4th moon book. I miss the series especially Miranda. I like the idea of Miranda's child writing about her life and wondering what it was like when the moon was so tiny.

Anonymous said...

I think you should have Miranda and Alex still together because I cant stand having the idea they would split apart. Other than that I think everything about your ideas are wonderful! I hope the 4th book is able to be published! I think I would go crazy if it didnt.

calescales said...

FxI love Alex and Miranda together. I would hate it if they went there seperate ways . Maybe you could have something on the 2 year aniversary of the moon you could have another metor hit the moon and knock it bfrack into place. Or something elese just don't seperate Miranda and Alex.

Anonymous said...

I think having Miranda and Alex still together would be the best, what would make this book great would be if they did split, because Miranda told him the truth, that Alex would leave. Later in the book Alex could finally understand what she did and accept it, although he would be hesitant about it they would still be back together loving each other. Chris is a good character but the thought of him being in the book a lot more wouldn't be the best for me. I just love suspenseful drama and action. i just LOVE IT. So if you could write back your thoughts that would be great, Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love the entire series! I do agree that there were alot of questions left unanswered in the last book. I hope there will be a fourth book added to the series :)

Anonymous said...

I fell in love with your books 3 days ago, and considering how I've finished the current three, I just don't know what to do.I'm a avid reader, always have been, but you have become my favorite writer, above, dare I say it, Tolkien.I thank you quite sincerely for writing one of those books hat are few and far between, one of those books, that once you finish one you have to read the next right away, for writing the rare series of books, that after finishing, you feel as though you've lost a close friend.

Sincerely
Ichio.

Anonymous said...

Also, I would love a next generation book!

Ichio.

human sleep patterns said...

sleeping under the moon has been said that it has adverse affects on the human health.