In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Details, Details ... It's all in the details!

I'm excited that my 2010 writing project, a murder mystery called Cold Midnight, is being read by a few people who might choose to escort it into print. The writing process may be long ... but the publishing process is often even longer!

Cold Midnight takes place in 1921, a year of exciting developments like fast cars and short skirts. In Vermont, change often arrives a bit later, but there's no question that downtown St. Johnsbury hosted the local equivalent of the speakeasy, as well as flappers, barnstormers, and ... whatever else of national culture could arrive on the train.

Working out the "back story" to the novel involved me in a lot of details I hadn't considered before. For instance, I know what a 1921 kitchen looked like -- some are still more or less intact here! -- but had no clue about bathrooms. Not every novel involves a  bathroom, but at one point in Cold Midnight, the second most important character in the book, Ben Riley, needs to clean up, in order to keep his mother from worrying about why he's been out at night. He lives in the grandest house in town, but he's the son of the cook/housekeeper. Would he use the fancy facilities that the owners enjoyed? I thought probably not ... but although "outhouses" (outdoor bathrooms) still existed around here then, I also though the mansion owner would provide something a bit better for the "help." Here are the two images of bathrooms that I worked with, one fancy, one plain.

Oh, you might ask, who's the most important character in the book? That would be Claire -- Claire Benedict. She's got her reasons for being out at night, too. Heaven help her, if her mother ever knew.

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