everybody at a book-signing
When it comes to the topic of writing I'm a pretty serious person. A few of my characters have taught me how to stick my tongue in my cheek and I'm working at it - it's a slow process, so bear with me! So do you want to know some of the odd-ball, curious things that made up the backdrop of The Shadow Things? You've come to the right place.
1. I rewrote much of the novel. I'm told this happened. I'm told that my sister-in-law advised me to do this (meaning, I really needed to do it) and I'm told that I did it. She continues to apologize for putting me through this alleged agony, but the fact of the matter is I don't remember a lick of it. I have absolutely no memory of grinding up the paving stones of my story and laying it out afresh. You would think I would recall such an experience vividly, but nope, no such memory exists. I guess I've forgiven her for it. Forgive and forget, and all that...
2. I had a wretched cold the day Abigail and I went to sign the contracts with the publishers. Seriously, the mother of all colds. I really did not want to be sneezing and blowing my nose all through the interview so I held it at bay through sheer will-power. I kid you not. I sat on the dashed thing as you might sit on the lid of a suitcase that is about to burst open, and I did not let my hold go until the moment we stepped back out of the publisher's office. And then the cold hit me full in the face. I hope they appreciated my efforts. Bleh.
3. Book-signings are strange, curious, inhuman things that everyone (including myself) holds at arm's length and looks at askance. I learned that when people say, "Interesting," it really means, "I have no idea what you are on about and I would really like to get away from you but I don't want to hurt your feelings." Yeah, I'm on to you...
4. We got to interface with the cover artist and give our general ideas for our book covers so that, in the end, we were both really happy with what we got. I don't know if a lot of authors get that privilege, so we were really grateful. Thanks, David!
5. The Shadow Things is an unusually small book compared to what I normally write, but I was sanguine with that since publishers are often justified in balking when an enormous debut manuscript is dropped on their desks. On that side of things I don't mind how small it is; however, almost without fail I am disappointed by how quickly readers tear through the novel. They love it. They usually say something flattering like, "I just couldn't put it down after a certain point!" But to myself I think (with my bottom lip stuck out petulantly), "Why couldn't it be a bigger book so it would take more time and you could enjoy it longer...?" I'm so mature.
6. It was The Shadow Things that taught me how to give my signature decently on demand.
7. I am now at that awkward, in-between stage in which people ask me, "So, are you writing any more books...?" But it's okay. I can handle it. Give it a little more time and I'll be able to drop two metric tons of novel on them and they'll know for certain that I mean business.
8. The map at the beginning? I make that myself. Pretty straight-forward, I would have liked for it to have been more detailed, but as the book does not dwell on the geographical details I was not allowed to indulge this whim. Ho hum. (Coincidentally, Abigail made the map for The Soldier's Cross, I believe. I don't know if she ever mentioned that...)
9. There really was a stone archer's cuff dug up at Stonehenge. True facts.