Juggling

So I’ve been very quiet about what I’m up to, lately, and that is in large part because I’m not entirely sure what I’m up to, other than preparing for the release of ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA in October. In May I’ll be attending the Frederick Book Festival and then BEA, in July I’ll be doing a signing at Hooray 4 Books, and in August I’ll be back down at Dragon*Con, and then October will be EXPLODING with events.

But the thing is that a writer views what’s going on very differently than a reader does. A reader sees the books a writer has coming out now or in a few months. But by the time a book is out, a writer is one or more books in the future already. Sometimes, I’ll be at an event, and someone will ask me a question about a recent release, and I will totally blank, because my head is full of something that happens three books down the line. This was especially hard when, say Secret Society Girl was just hitting the shelves in paperback in 2007 (which is when most people discovered the series) and I had already written Rites of Spring (Break) and was working on Rampant, so my head space was… wow, oh so different.

By the time FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS came out last June, I was two drafts into ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA (one which had the FDSTS people in it, and one that didn’t, FWIW). I was lucky in this case that I was still working in the same world, with the same characters. It wasn’t like switching series.

I finished writing ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA last summer, and it’s not coming out for another SIX MONTHS. In between then and now, I’ve written three short stories and three book proposals (that’s the first five chapters of three different books). By the time the book is out (again, in SIX MONTHS), I fully expect to have finished one of those books, and probably more besides.

But there’s this thing where I don’t talk about books until I know a) if they are going to happen and b) what’s going to happen with them. And that’s because I don’t want to promise anything to you that I can’t deliver. If I say, “oh, guys, I’m working on this awesome were-stingray book and it’s about XYZ” and then I don’t sell the were-stingray book or I can’t finish the were-stingray book (for all definitions of “can’t finish” from “the book breaks and I don’t know how to fix it” to “I haven’t sold it and instead I sold this other thing I have to write in order to keep food on the table”), then I feel like I let you down. So, for me, what works is to stay pretty under wraps about what I’m working on until I have a handle on it. I have, for the past decade, been calling this my “darkroom.”

There are many books in the darkroom. There are many nooks and crannies in the darkroom, and many reasons a book might be there. For instance, Star-Swept was in the darkroom for a long, long time, even though it was under contract, because I wasn’t entirely sure what it was going to be or when it was going to come out, and I didn’t want to, say, field the questions about “whether Kai and Elliot were going to be in this book” until I was sure they were.

YES, THEY ARE.

So that’s what’s going on here. I’m working on books, some of which I’ll hope to be able to tell you about soon. I’ve also sold a short story this year. It’s a unicorn short story, and I think it’s coming out before the end of the year. Yay. Finally, there’s going to be a digital prequel to Star-Swept, and all the details on that will be released soon, too.

As you can imagine, I have quite a few balls in the air right now.

Posted in PAP, star-swept, unicorns, writing industry, writing life, YA

3 Responses to Juggling

  1. Alexa Y. says:

    I think being intentional about what information you do and do not share about future books and WIPs is a very smart idea. That way, there is no possibility of disappointment or pressure or the need to write or accomplish something the way someone else would want. There’s definitely wisdom in this!

  2. Angie Kroll says:

    The answer is probably ‘no’, but I’ll ask anyway. Will you be able to bring any of the new books to DragonCon?

    • Diana says:

      Right now, I’m working on trying to get STAR-SWEPT at Dragon*Con, since it doesn’t officially come out until mid-October. Sad trombone.

      Also, I was just thinking about you!