It’s done. The Boston Girl, my fifth novel and twelfth book, has been submitted, accepted and copyedited. Publication date: December 9, 2014.
It’s a historical novel told in the first person by an eighty-five-year-old woman named Addie Baum in response to a question from her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter who wants to know how she came to be the woman she was.
Addie starts the story in 1915 when she is fifteen years old and the world begins to open up to her, the daughter of immigrants who live in Boston’s polyglot North End. The 1910s and '20s were a fascinating period: short skirts, movies and new opportunities for women.
I sent the copyedited manuscript to New York on June 26, which turned into a bit of a drama when the mailroom lost it. This was a big deal because copyediting is done the old fashioned way: pencil on paper. The wonderful Laura who worked on my book was meticulous and thoughtful and saved my credibility a lot. Then I wrote responses to her comments. Hundreds of hours of work hung in the balance.
But lo! I had made a copy of the marked up text – something I had never done before -- so all was not lost. And then they found the original in a warehouse somewhere.
Sheesh. And then, whew. No harm no foul and it’s off to the typesetter.
A week later and I've I cleaned my desk. I filed some files. I have put new liners down in the kitchen cabinets. I’m having lunch with friends I neglected in the marathon to finish the book. I’m back to yoga twice a week. I’m cooking.
I have started reading three books, hoping to be swept away but it hasn’t happened because I’m so fidgety. In truth, I’m adrift. I don’t really want to start something new but empty hands make me nervous.
People ask if this is like having post-partum blues, and even though there are similarities I always say no. With a book, you push hard the last few months and then you give it away, wait for someone to tell you whether or not it’s viable, and you don’t see it again for several weeks. When you get it back, there are questions and corrections all over it. And then you send it back again. And by the time readers start cooing over the brand new arrival (I hope), I no longer remember the names of some of the minor characters.
This is not a plea for help so please, do not make suggestions for my next novel. It doesn’t work that way. Actually, I have no idea how it works. It’s a mystery. *
And I’m trying to be okay with that.
*March 17 blog post, "Finishing the hat."