I've been debating whether to do all this in one blog entry or two, and I'm going with one, divided in two parts.
I've been delighted with the number of people who've e-mailed me to ask for book plates for Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone. In fact, I just put in a reorder for the Always Have Hope stickers. If anyone wants one or many more than one, just e-mail and ask. If you've forgotten what the stickers look like, skim down a blog entry or two, and there they'll be.
Speaking of summer programs, there's a library in Alabama that's using LAWKI this summer, and incorporating many interesting events. I wish I lived there, because the whole thing sounds so great: http://www.gadsdentimes.com/article/20080520/NEWS/805200301/1016/NEWS
I had a great time doing my own program at Middletown Thrall Library. The audience was small, and I knew three quarters of them on a first name basis, but that didn't stop me. Nothing did, not even the promise of cookies. Heck, I talked so much and so long, that I didn't even get to eat any of the cake (I didn't know there was one until it was all gone).
I plan to compensate for the lack of cake by eating lots of it at my Cheap And Easy 75th Book Party on June 1. I'm expecting about thirty guests for a Sunday brunch that needs to satisfy people who keep kosher, vegans, and diabetics. The money to pay for all this (especially the cakes) is coming from the Swedish rights to LAWKI, a check, my agent informs me, that just came in. Talk about good timing.
One of the guests at the party will be my friend Joyce Wadler. Joyce and I have been friends since first day freshman year at college. She's one of the funniest people I know, and she's just started her own blog. If you like intelligent, sophisticated humor, go to http://www.joycewadler.com/
Finally, I'm pleased to note the addition of another blog interview to the links on the right.
Earlier this week, I heard from my agent that Harcourt is indeed interested in seeing a third book. My agent e-mailed my editor to find out when they would need a manuscript, and was told it was pretty much at my convenience, since most likely the book would be on the Spring 2010 list.
Naturally I'm pleased about this, but if you don't seem me jumping up and down, it's because I had decided over the weekend that the 400 page epic on the evils of capitalism just wasn't right for the third book. I had practically the whole thing worked out in my mind, with all kinds of juicy plots and subplots, and I even had most of the sex and violence under control, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get Miranda to fit in. She never belonged in that world; she's too much of this one.
So I've gone back to the drawing board. My current plan is a book with two different central characters (and most likely alternating viewpoints)- Luke, Dad and Lisa's son, come east to find his family, and Grace (although her name shifts about), Miranda's stepdaughter. Both characters would be teenagers, 16 or 17, and at the beginning of the book, wouldn't know each other. Miranda and Grace go back to the LAWKI house for the summer, where Matt lives, so they're there when Luke shows up. I'm considering having Luke's sections be third person (like d&g) and Grace's a diary (like LAWKI).
I spent a fair amount of time last night trying to decide how to work the d&g characters in (they'd slotted in quite nicely in the 400 page epic), until I figured out that Jon from LAWKI is married to Julie from d&g. I don't know yet how they met, and I'm having a problem with whether they have kids, but that's probably because I'm focusing on them right now more than I need to.
Luke is going to keep some of his toughness and all of his wariness. Grace, whose parents are dead, is going to be insecure. Both of them have grown up in a world of death, privation, and darkness. I'd like things to be getting better and I'd like them to find that unsettling. But the book is going to be about them and family, not the suffering of society. What I want for Luke and Grace by book's end is the ability to trust, in family and in the future.
So that's where things are now. I don't usually chuck fully written manuscripts and fully developed ideas, but this third book (still called The World We Live In) is really important to me, and I want to get it right.
Have a great weekend. With any luck, by my next blog entry, I'll know a lot more about Luke and Grace and the world they live in.