BWANGGGGG……feeple, feeple, ploop.
Which is—lest you not recognize this masterly example of onomatopoeia—the sound made by a rubber band that’s been tightly wrapped around a newspaper and is suddenly pushed off to shoot across the room, spin slightly and fall limp. It’s also the sound of my brain, suddenly decompressing.
Which is to say—it’s DONE. AN ECHO IN THE BONE went to press a couple of weeks ago, and the first hot-off-the-press copy arrived on my doorstep a few days ago (and a jolly good thing, too, since it’s due out on the 22nd of this month). It’s absolutely beautiful (huge thanks to Virginia Norey, the book-designer) and I’m Way Thrilled with it.
All my books come together differently; this one was undoubtedly written in more different places than any of the others. I wrote part of it during a short night aboard a plane to Scotland (the stewardi were most concerned, and kindly brought me endless Diet Cokes all night; if caffeine does anything bad to you, I expect we’ll find out here shortly)—thus arriving in the Highlands next day having slept only two hours out of the preceeding 36, which gives a whole new meaning to jet lag.
I wrote another part of it on the floor of the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament, though this was more or less an accident (I was kindly invited to witness the first-ever Clan Convention (a gathering of all the clan chieftains, and heads of clan societies), and was walking along with the chieftain of clan MacKenzie, whom I’d been fortunate enough to have dinner with earlier in the week, and was inadvertently shooed into the main chamber with him, rather than up to the Visitor’s Gallery—and then was unable to get out. So I nonchalantly sat down at a delegate’s desk, took out my netbook and flipped it open, in hopes that people would assume I was a journalist reporting on the proceedings. And…well, there I was, and there the computer was, and…
The more-or-less final bits were written during a long night in the Algonquin Hotel in New York (very appropriate, given the hotel’s literary history) on our way home (we have to break trips to Europe, as my husband is very tall, and Suffers Intensely on long flights, even in business class). I emailed the last chunk of manuscript to my editor just after dawn, and just before running out the door to catch a cab to the airport.
In the cab, naturally, I realized that I’d left out a couple of short bridges—and on the flight back to Phoenix, realized that there really had to be another scene in Part Six, and…well, anyway, I tidied up all the little subsidiary chunks and addressed the (luckily, very few) editorial comments on the earlier parts, all this while reading the copy-edited and/or already-typeset versions of the earlier chunks, which had been chasing me around Scotland for the preceding two weeks.
All of which is why I haven’t written anything but answers to interview questions and replies to (some of) the backed-up email for the last couple weeks. But my brain is beginning to twitch feebly again, and bits of this ‘n that are bubbling up. Just in time—I have a short story (well, sort of. Maybe. We hope) under contract for a new anthology (edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois) titled STAR-CROSSED LOVERS. I don’t yet know what my story will be titled, but at least I do know what the story’s about: I’m going to tell the story of Roger MacKenzie’s parents.
In other words….I’m baa-aack. [g]