Here's how you can tell the difference between a professional (anything) and an amateur (anything). A professional (anything) can learn from her mistakes.
After people started reading Life As We Knew It, a number of them (more than one, less than 38,000) commented that the family should have been eating rice all along. Not enough rice in the book! they clamoured. Was it a coincidence that they all were card carrying members of the American Rice Association? Well, that's not for me to say.
But today, when I took a break from writing Possible Third Book to buy kitty litter and other essentials at the supermarket, I took a quick stroll down the Bagged Long Lasting Foods section. Lots of rice, lots of beans. Having learned my lesson, I decided that the traveling troupe of players would eat rice and beans for breakfast every single day, for the length of the book.
Only then I remembered that rice grows in rice paddies, and rice paddies are swamplike places and I've thrown the Planet Earth into a four year long drought just because I can. So I have a feeling in another couple of hundred pages, the rice is going to run out, and all those members of the American Rice Association will be clamouring once again.
Unless P3B doesn't get published. In which case, I'll be saved from the wrath of the American Rice Association. Not a bad trade off.
This afternoon, in an effort to inspire me, Google News sent me an alert. Publishers Weekly had an article online about upcoming kids' sequels and follow up books, and one of the ten books discussed was the dead and the gone.
It was definitely a great article. There was a little bit about people wanting galley copies ("I told you so!" the Bolivian Hat yelled from the bathroom wall). There was a sort of actual number of copies of LAWKI in print (close to 40,000). There was an actual number of copies for the first printing of d&g (40,000). Both of those numbers were news to me. To put both of them in perspective, LAWKI's initial print run was 10,500. So Harcourt is either wildly optimistic about d&g or totally insane (and I'm not going to run a poll to determine which).
Here's the link to the entire article. Feel free to notice that the numbers for LAWKI/d&g are the smallest ones of the ten books listed. I noticed for free, but decided not to fret. They're so beyond any other numbers I've ever had that I'm still excited beyond respectability.
Meanwhile, P3B is 30 pages long, mostly double spaced (for some reason my computer decided to do 1 1/2 space for a page or so). Poor Caitlin has endured so much in just 30 pages that I'm considering calling the book The Hell She Chose (I wrote a line where she decides better the hell she chose than the hell chosen for her. I am such an inspirational writer). And if it weren't for the fact that I am absolutely committed to watching American Idol tonight because I have a pile of newspapers that remain unread, and AI is almost as good as baseball for reading, I'd be working on P3B all evening long, since it's so much fun.
Pain. Suffering. Rice. Life is grand!