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What to Expect When You’re Expecting… a Book

My newest novel, EAGLE & CRANE, will hit bookstore shelves on July 3rd. (And don’t forget those library shelves!!!). That day is currently less than a month away now!

I was musing about this blog the other day. I mainly write these entries for non-writers who are interested in getting a glimpse of what it’s like to write and publish fiction for a living (or aspiring writers who want a reality check, haha!).

I’ve mentioned this in previous blogs, but if you are lucky enough to have a book contract (which – yay! What a lovely development!) one thing you’ll do a lot of – one thing you may not expect – is WAIT. On average, at least a year will pass from the time you and your editor polish that final draft till the book will see print. A lot can happen in a year, and if you’re a working writer who needs her paycheck, you’ll start writing the “next-next” book. Personal drama may ensue. People may get sick. People may get better. You might move all the way across the country and take some time to settle into life on another coast. Presidents might do erratic things; it may seem that the news has gone totally pear-shaped. Your book can start to take on a feeling of unreality – for months and months, people will congratulate you in passing, but so much time lapses, you’re like, “Is this book thing I keep hearing about really ever going to happen?”

And then… just when you feel like your novel is an old friend with whom you’ve sadly fallen out of touch (you’ve been meaning to call or email but just haven’t), your book suddenly pops into your life! It’s an interesting feeling… working in isolation for so long, and then suddenly being presented with reviews that are printed in very public places. You’re both excited and eager to reunite with the characters but you also find yourself a little nervous, too, desperately hoping it won’t be awkward, like a bad high school reunion.

And, of course, now you have to have something to SAY about the book you wrote. You spend so much time chastising yourself with the old saw, “show, don’t tell,” and now it’s crucial that you flip the script (tell, tell!) and come up with some key (and hopefully interesting!) points to tell people about your book.

And still, there is more waiting. A publishing veteran once told me there was an old saying in the business about being a month out from your pub date, “This is the calm before the calm.” Har, har. Oh, Publishing, you are such a sassy, snarky business and I love you.

So, this is what I’ll be doing during this month as the days (and hours and minutes) tick down to EAGLE & CRANE’s publication. I’ll be reacquainting myself with the old friend that is my book, and trying to think of good ways to communicate with people about it. Somewhere in the offices of Penguin, people far smarter and savvier than me will be working on ways to help readers find the book. Needless to say, I am extremely grateful for the existence of these individuals, and part of my daily activities includes a prayer of thanks!

In an odd twist of fate, I think this book actually touches on some major subjects that have become even more relevant over the past year or two, and – to be honest – this fact has perhaps come as a surprise. I never expected when I sat down to write a WWII novel it would reveal so many parallels to our contemporary political landscape. But, alas. More on that at a later date.

Dear Readers, I hope you give EAGLE & CRANE a chance! Land feuds in California, a love triangle, aviators and a flying circus – all eventually thrown into stark relief by the turmoil caused by WWII and the internment of Japanese-Americans. And since I can’t resist a solid cheesy pun, forgive me now as I say: Please help this book take flight!

 

Much love,

Suzanne