Friday, October 10, 2008

A Short Quick Update

My editor was kind enough to e-mail me on Wednesday and confirm that Life As We Knew It had indeed fallen off the New York Times Children's Paperback Best Seller list. This happened once before (between the week it was Number 10 and the week it was Number 9), but I'm cheerfully assuming its time on the list has ended. Three weeks (out of four) is astonishing enough, as far as I'm concerned.

The more I think about it, the more pleased I am that the dead and the gone has a Jan. 2010 publication date. LAWKI had a year and a half in hardcover and that worked out really well.

I e-mailed my agent and said the working title of Book 3 is The World I Live In. That can be shortened to TWILI (which is kind of cute), but I'm thinking of it as The Willies, which I'm hoping the climax of the book will provide.

I also told her to request a May 1, 2009 deadline for the contract. But the reality is I have the beginning, most of the middle, and the end already in mind.

I still have a lot to do, including being absolutely positively sure the ending is what I want. Right now I have no doubts, but I'm in that early infatuation stage. Ironically, although there will never ever be a fourth book, TWILI has an open ending. It also has an unresolved mystery for its climax, which will really drive readers crazy. And yet I love it.

Anything more, and this wouldn't be short and quick. So I'll stop right here. Have a great holiday weekend!


Alexa said...

It sounds great and I am intrigued! Although you are right an unsolved mystery will drive me crazy. I'm quite partial to open endings though. I've only read LAWKI and I loved it. TDATG is on my TBR pile.

Love the new title too.

Texas Pixie said...

Horray! May isn't too far off! I'm glad things are working out for both you, and TWILI (glad to finally know a title!). Good luck with everything and enjoy it! You'll only write the third book once. ;)

Linda Jacobs said...

I love your metaphor of how writing a book is like falling in love!

Thanks for leaving these bits of your process. So interesting!

Vicki in IL said...

I will be book talking Life As We Knew It on Tuesday, October 14, for my Advanced Young Adult Lit. class. I chose this one because it is by far the best book I have read this semester and I have read alot. I am an elementary librarian in Springfield, IL for five schools. LAWKI is on our Caudill children's choice book award so I will be sharing it with our students this year. Loved it! Vicki in IL

Anonymous said...

PLEASE! Never say NEVER about a Book 4! I like offering suggestions too much. Leave the door open at least, okay?

Anonymous Santa Fe

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Good evening Alexa, Texas Pixie, Linda Jacobs, Vicki in Il, and Anonymous Santa Fe-

Only write a third book once. Ha!

I started listening to the Listening Library version of the dead and the gone this afternoon, and it reminded me that I need Miranda to be active in TWILI. She can't just record all the interesting stuff going on around her, no matter how interesting I make the stuff.

It also reminded me that d&g is a very depressing book. I got close to teary at one point, and I've only listened to the first two of the seven discs. By disc six, I'll be a blubbering mess.

My guess is I'll spend tomorrow working and weeping.

Now that's a happy thought!

Anonymous said...

This is Santa Fe calling, again! I was on Amazon reading the reader reviews for LAWKI, and several people were harping about the lack of sympathy for religion (of course, they didn't know that you'd more than make up for it in TDATG). In addition to what I suggested before about the demise of the minister AND the rabies alternative death, I wonder if maybe somebody can come to the town who does have faith -- maybe not an organized religion-type faith, but faith nonetheless, to balance all the bad Megan's minister did. Julie'd be a good candidate, or perhaps the woman Dan might return with could be such a person. Just some more food for thought.

Anonymous Santa Fe.

Yvette said...

Great news about #3! So with a May 1 contract deadline, what does that mean for your deadline for writing and rewriting?
Despite whatever NYT says, LAWKI is still circulating well up here! (Yes, I do push the book...but that's my job, right?) Out of the blue, my husband (who is a medievalist) told us over dinner this week that he has been contemplating LAWKI and how if the disaster really happened, we should raise pigs (he has a long list of reasons why). He read LAWKI about 6 months ago, so obviously you've really freaked him out!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello again Anonymous Santa Fe and hello to Yvette and her medievalist husband-

I admit I've been thinking more about religion than pigs for TWILI. I considered having Lisa become more religious than Miranda cares for, but I have such a nifty bit of business lying in wait for Lisa that I'd better keep her from excessive religious fervor or people will get mad at me all over again.

Anyway, Julie'll be there and she can represent positive religious belief (actually I have a nice line of dialogue for her on the subject, which I should probably write down before I forget it).

A May 1 deadline (which Harcourt has to agree to, but it'd be nasty of them not to, since that's a mere 6 1/2 months away and sensible writers take a lot longer than that to write a book) would be to submit an acceptable draft of the book. I haven't decided yet when I'm going to start writing. I usually like to have a clear calendar, but I have a school in Missouri and NCTE and two schools in Illinois from mid November to mid December, and I can't see waiting until after all that to begin. The book is really starting to ripen.

My sister-in-law gave me a laptop for just such situations, so maybe that's the answer.

Or maybe I should just raise pigs!