Hannah Dennison wrote me this past week. Hannah is another Los Angeles-based mystery author. We’ve met several times and keep in touch by e-mail. She writes the delightful Vicky Hill mystery series. Like me, Hannah works a day job and is on a nutty year-end deadline and, like me, is currently working her heiny off to meet that deadline. It was so lovely that she took the time to write and say hello.
One of the things Hannah asked me in her e-mail made me laugh: “How many books are you writing at the moment?”
Let’s see … Corpse on the Cob and doing the final edits on The Ghost of Granny Apples would be the correct answer.
But what made me laugh is the answer that is closer to the truth: I’m writing about 5-6 books at the moment.
You see, this past week Odelia #6 raised its head and wouldn’t leave me alone. It begged for attention much as my cat Raffi does when he scratches the back of my desk chair (which is shredded, by the way). I kept pushing it aside, but finally had to give in. Stopping work on Corpse on the Cob, I wrote the first page to Odelia #6. I had to if I wanted any peace while I worked on the book due in just 54 days. Once the book came to life on the page, it left me alone. It just wanted a little attention. But then, don’t we all?
Book 6 is due January 1, 2010. You’re probably thinking that next year at this time, Odelia #7 will be begging for attention, impatient to be worked on. Well, you’re wrong. Odelia #7 has already slapped me around mentally until I gave it its due and I have written the first page and final chapter of that book. It’s deadline is January 1, 2011.
And just so you don’t get the idea that Odelia Grey is a bully, I’ll have you know that I have other books in various stages of completion, which also, from time to time, demand attention like 2 year-olds needing naps. Two of them have nothing to do with either Granny or Odelia and one of them screamed my name two weeks ago. All these books float around in my skull like a bunch of damn sea monkeys.
Writing isn’t an occupation, a passion, or an addiction, it’s a disease. A disease I’m happy to live with.
Okay, back to work!