Major revision #8 of the second book in the series went to my agent-genius Janet last night.
I'm not quite so deluded as to think my life is fascinating, but I suspect the writer-types reading this are interested in what really happens to a debut author, so here's where we're at:
My life for the last 6 weeks has revolved around book 2. I received superb editorial comments from Joanna Volpe and some fascinating insight from the interns at FinePrint (thanks guys), on the basis of which I did some serious revision. More on book 2 later after I finish with my status.
Book 1 is in production at St Martins, which means they're turning it into something which fits on a bookshelf. Over the coming months, in no particular order, everyone will agree a final title and the art department will work out a cover and I will receive galleys to check. What happens inside the publisher is pretty much a black box to me. I responded to Editor Kathleen's editorial letter months ago, and sent in a character list, author note and acknowledgements, which ended my direct contribution, so now I'm an error correction device when the galleys arrive. Kathleen has been superb about asking my opinion on covers and titles, way beyond the contractual requirement, which I very much appreciate.
Sarah the Publicist, whom I met at Bouchercon, told me that at some point I'll receive a questionnaire about marketing. I look forward to it with amusement and trepidation.
The third book is begun and the opening scenes are flowing nicely. It's set at the Olympics of 460BC and I'm feeling good about it already. There's lots of material I can use, some of it quite bizarre. Bizarre is good.
Book 2 has come out of its revision feeling strong. I can't explain the feeling, but I know when something I've written has crossed the line from merely okay to publishable. I felt book 2 fall into place beneath my hands 4 weeks ago. If you picked it off a shelf in your local bookstore and read some, it would not feel out of place. I had the same feeling with the first book, when at some point I realized what I had was good. If it's of any help to those of you editing your own ms, I got the feeling in both cases while cutting large swathes of perfectly good text to get to the core of the story.
The coming year is going to be huge. I have book 1 coming out, which means after title/cover/galleys I have a book on the shelves and a book tour and Bouchercon. That'll soak up months. In between that Kathleen will probably send the editorial letter for book 2, which means revising book 2. In between that I need to write the third, and I need to get the core of it done in the first half of the year, because the second half is going to be absolute chaos. So as of now I have three books in the air, and I'll be juggling 3 for so long as the series runs.
It's a good problem to have.