Thursday, March 22, 2012

The (Extremely Tentative) Return Of The Shade Of The Moon

When I was a senior in college and interested in getting a job in publishing, I was told one way of entering the field was by writing a book. Even if the book didn't get accepted, the publishing house would be so impressed they'd hire me.

I decided to give it a try. Only I knew how easy it is to say you're going to do something and even begin and still not finish. So I told my friends and my family and my professor that I was going to write one, and since the fear of humiliation of not finishing outweighed the pleasure of not working, I wrote the book.

I'm kind of doing that now. For much of the winter, I've been playing with a whole different approach for a fourth moon book. I finally worked out one I really like, and I've begun writing it.

I do mean begun. I've written a grand total of 7 pages. I haven't gotten a work rhythm down, and I won't for the next couple of weeks, since next week I'll be obsessively watching the World Figure Skating Championships online, and the week after that I'm going to Texas for the last of my school visits.

It's been my dream forever that the brain could somehow transmit a book to paper while leaving the fingers out of it, but that hasn't happened yet, so I guess I'll actually have to work to get the book written. It won't be easy, given the temptations of a March that thinks it's June, and a cat who thinks I should play with him on demand, and a 647 game FreeCell winning streak. Not to mention my mother's laundry and other such obligations.

I'm not going to indulge in spoilers, but I will tell you that I'm holding onto the title The Shade Of The Moon, that the book takes place two and a half years after the end of This World We Live In, that the setting is in and around the safetown of Sexton, that Jon is the main character, and that we learn what is happening with Miranda, Alex, Matt, Syl, Mom, Lisa, and Gabe. Although I don't think we'll actually see Syl, and I'll probably avoid writing Gabe scenes, since he's 3 years old, and I don't do 3 year olds very well. And naturally, there'll be new characters to meet.

My friend Princess Summerfallwinterspring, who is pretty much the only person I've told any of this to, commended me for my extraordinary persistence (although she may have worded it a tad less nicely). The truth of the matter is I loved writing Life As We Knew It, The Dead And The Gone, This World We Live In, and all the various incarnations that never got published. Their characters and the world I created for them have been a part of my life for over 7 years now. And I guess I'm just not ready to give them up.

Oh well. I'm rapidly running out of excuses not to work. The Shade Of The Moon, here I come!


Marci said...

HAH! You are not yet totally committed to laziness! Despite the unbelievably warm weather and your aspirations, you are working!

Soon's says their peaches are in bloom. It's March! And this is not Georgia.

I wanna go to the cookie cafe. When are we going. And I am starting to experience falafel withdrawal.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Marci-

Don't tempt me. It's hard enough to get to work with a sunny and 75 degree day out there!

Linda said...

Yay! I was hoping you'd write from Jon's perspective! I'm all excited! Thank you!

Nora Durbin said...

It sounds like you are doing plenty of work and planning.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello Linda and Nora Durbin-

Jon is an interesting character to work with. He has a different perspective on things. He benefits from the new order (so to speak) while haunted by the ghosts of the past.

I have done a lot of planning. I love doing prewriting. Writing, on the other hand, can sometimes be mistaken for actual labor!

Mr. Cavin said...

Man I wish you would (or even could) indulge us in some sort of bundled meta-story experiment where we get to read all (x) fourth moon books back-to-back and watch them mutate and change before our eyes like one thousand years of oral mythology. You could go ahead and package strategic entries of this blog into the multi-volume set so we could get a feel for the Machiavellian nuts-n-bolts. The project would satisfy more than my taste for meta, it would really illustrate the creative process.

Ah, but it's a dream.

I loved Evvie at Sixteen, by the way. Bet you didn't think you'd be able to hook a forty-one year old boy, huh? If you don't publish the rest of the quartet, I'll at least have to track down a copy of Claire, I think.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Mr. Cavin-

I actually don't think there's any progression amongst my various Shades, or for that matter, my various attempts at a third book. Each one is different from the others.

For example, in the short story I wrote as a possible Shade book, Alex goes to see Carlos, and finds Carlos is either dead or vanished. In the version I'm working on, I plan to have Carlos come to visit Alex. And in the first Shade version, now that I think about it, Carlos was definitely alive, 18years later.

Thanks for the kind words about Evvie At Sixteen. I really love the Sebastian Sisters. But I'm counting the e-book sales on the fingers of one and a half hands, so I think the complete set may take a while!

Jordan G. said...

What a genuine surprise and a complete thrill to hear this news. I'm sending you my most positive vibes!

Rebecca said...

Is it okay for me to tell you to get on with it? Because I really want to read your unwritten book!

Okay, I'll be patient. I still have Blood Wounds to read anyway. It's in the pile of books next to my night stand.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thank you Jordan G. and Rebecca-

I'm hoping to get a good day's work done tomorrow. I think I've run out of excuses, at least for the day.

And I'll take all the positive vibes I can get!

Anonymous said...

I always thought the fourth book should be from Jon's viewpoint. In this new society, Miranda's now an adult, and it'd be interesting to see Jon's take on those same years. Good luck -- maybe the fourth time will be the charm!

(I'm still thinking Miranda's adopted, though.)

Anonymous Santa Fe

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Anonymous Santa Fe-

Thank you for the good wishes, the comment, and the giggle you provided me!

Miss Mint said...

Fantastic news! I just finished This World We Live In yesterday, and was thrilled to see there may be a future installment. This was one of those series that gets you really invested in the characters. The end kind of leaves you to draw your own conclusions about the fate of the characters, and I'm really happy that we'll get to see what happened to them.
Great series, wonderful characters, captivating premise, amazing writing.
I look forward to reading your other works in the meantime

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thanks Miss Mint for all the nice words!

Anonymous said...

This was the first books I have ever read. I enjoy Life as we knew it, but when I read The dead and th Gone that blow my mined away. The book was so good I couldn't stop reading it. I finished in 2 day thats how good it was. it made me cry when I found out the briana died that part of the book so so good. I hated it when her sister wanted to her to wake up, but she couldn't. I love this book and I can't wait to read the next one. I will alway chairish this book for ever.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thank you very much arcos. Your words mean a lot to me.

Heather said...

This is FANTASTIC tentative news! If it is encouraging at all, I promise to purchase many copies.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thanks Heather-
I've definitely been working on it. I have about 45 pages written, and lost a lot of sleep doing the plotting!

Lizzy said...

Let me start of by saying I am a huge fan! I was given the requirement to read "Life as We Knew It" and absolutley could not put it down! The next two books, I read both on a 5 hour car ride, and couldn't put those down either. This very exciting news to see there may be a fourth book! Please continue on as I will be extremely happy if one of my favorite series has a fourth book!!!!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thank you Lizzy-

I almost never liked the books I was required to read, so it's nice to know my book was required and you didn't hate it anyway.

I woke up this morning with a whole new scene in mind. Let's hope I write it this afternoon!

eraleta colson said...

hi...i found life as we knew it sitting on the shelf of my library one day...i am normally a massive paranormal romance reader....but i was hooked..i read all 3 books in 4 days..i did have to stop and feed the family ever so often..or i would have finished it have also started to store rice, beans and husband thinks i am nuts...we will see who is laughing when we dont have to eat the family i hope the 4th book comes out soon i am going though please hurry...thank you for writing such a great series......EraLeta (leta)Colson of Oklahoma

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello EraLeta Colson-

Since I don't have anything stockpiled except cat food (it was on sale) and hundred calorie snacks, I'll have to make my way to Oklahoma should the world come to an end.

I'll tell you what. I won't eat your family dog if you don't eat my family cat!

Anonymous said...

Susan how come kevin had to die in the book The Dead and The Gone. He helped Alex with eveything he could. I wish you came to my school to talk about the book.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello again arcos-

It was nean of me to kill off Kevin. If it's any comfort, I was very sad when I did!

Jason said...

I have only recently found this series but finished the three in a little over a week and can't believe how much I loved reading them all. So coming here today to find out you are indeed writing more in the story makes me happier than I have been about a book in a great while. Can't wait to read it and hope as do you I'm sure that it is even better than the previous three.

becky said...

I was brought to Life as we knew it through my 7th grade son assigned to it in school. I read it faster than he did and i took me less than a week to finish the dead and the gone and this world we live in. I am SO EXCITED to see you are writing ther next one but not so excited that I will have to wait for it! How long do you presume you will need to finish it?Im dying to find out more about axel and miranda! And so very sad Julie is gone I thought Bri was barely all he could handle after everything else. Thank you for writing these. I love them and I also fear them as everything in them is so plausable.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello and thank you to Jason and becky-

You'd be surprised how much I love hearing that people read and like my books. It never gets old for me.

I'm hoping to have the first draft of Shade finished by the end of April, but it's hard to be sure. I do like writing it, but this week is devoted to watching figure skating and shopping for clothes.

My brain continues to work though!

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Miranda's doing in this book -- I always thought of her as ending up training to be what used to be called a "granny doctor", due to the shortage of medical personnel either killed by the flu or pressed into military service.

Anonymous Santa Fe

Anonymous said...

Oh my Goodness! Oh my Stars!
You ARE going to write a 4th moon book! Last time I read your blog you had decided to file the papers away from your publisher. I was so bummed and thought Oh No, this is it, no more books. :(
I am So Glad you have changed your mind! :)
Maybe we will see your books on the Big Screen in the Future?
That would really Be Something!
Susan from Michigan

mykake said...

Well, as a fan and teacher, I am glad to hear about a possible fourth book. You are doing what I fear to finish, so keep plugging.

Hotdog12 said...

It is cool that you are doing The Shade of the Moon. I loved Live as we Knew It and all your other books.

I am a teacher so I will make my students read your books and I will ask questions on them.

Fieryne-Skyz said...

It is amazing How i just picked a random Book and Bam! I finish it after 1 hour wanting to read more. I love shade of the moon. Are you still planning to have a fifth book or is that it?