I had supper last night with Todd Strasser, at Legal Seafood for those who are curious, and I had trout, if you really want to know. The restaurant is located in The Hideous Mall In Nyack, about halfway between our homes.
I hadn't seen Todd since my 75th book party, way back on June 1, and it was good to spend time with him. We talked about career stuff, aging parents and pets, friends, books, movies. He was just back from a two week book tour in Germany. We had a lot to catch up on.
When we got up to leave, a well dressed man came over to us. He said he'd been having dinner with someone on the other side of the restaurant, and while he couldn't hear a word we'd said, he'd loved watching us talk, because we were so animated. It was good to know that the art of conversation wasn't dead.
I've been praised for a lot of things in my life. My mother, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, thinks I'm cute. But never before have I been lauded for an inaudible conversation.
Then again, Todd is very good looking. That always helps.
What I couldn't tell Todd, because it didn't happen until this afternoon, is that Harcourt, my agent and I have agreed to terms for the third book. Alas, my very cute mother pointed out this means I actually have to write it.
I knew there was a catch somewhere.
Fortunately, I've been doing a fair amount of thinking about Book Three. I had my weekly epiphany that lots of bad things happen in Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone and therefore lots of bad things are going to have to happen in Still Untitled, or else people who really like LAWKI and d&g because of all the bad things that happen in them are going to be very disappointed (this could well include my editor).
It's a tricky balance between having things get better, so my characters can stay alive, and having things get awful in new ways, so my readers won't get bored. I've been picturing a scene where the cellar floods (no electricity for the sump pump), and while they're bucket brigading the water out, Matt collapses headfirst and Miranda has to lift his head up to prevent him from drowning. She and Jon get Matt out of there, but for the rest of the book there's the struggle between terror of Matt's dying from his weakened heart and his refusal to behave like an invalid.
As things progress, I'll keep you posted. I figure the book won't come out for another year and a half and by then you'll have forgotten everything, so you can read the book and be surprised all over again.
And just think what animated conversations you'll be able to have about it!