Sunday, October 6, 2013

"Are you working on a new book?"

"Are you working on a new book?"
That's the question authors hear every now and then. It could be soon after the last one was published, or in case of a gap, years after the last one.
How rarely in reality would the answer be: "No." For my knowledge, most authors write at least something over the months, years. Some more than others.
If the author hasn't published anything in years, it might not be the case that he/she hasn't actually been writing anything. It just could be that the book, even several new book scripts, have been rejected by publishers. Or are still in the pile waiting to be judged. Not all of us authors get to jump the queue. Also drastic changes in publishing houses mean delays. Personnel changes. Errors in processing. Slower reading of those hundreds, maybe thousands of scripts piling up from here and there. Even misplaced piles of paper sent in long time ago, which are never found (been there).
It is somehow unfortunate from author's modest point of view. Especially when talking about novels that are planned as being parts of the series. Maybe individual stories, but subplots depicting certain years, bringing characters into account. Showing how people's lives change.
Or maybe they don't. Or maybe the books end up being published in wrong -non-chronological-  order. Or some of them not at all. Suddenly that one part of the series has a character having a baby. In the next one published she hasn't. But it's only a subplot. Meaningless, if it doesn't fit the publishing plan or doesn't go over the quality line.
Could be frustrating for an author to see how things go. Whether these novels will be published five years apart. Or at all. If there is a continuance for readers to have something to wait. How the things continued in subplots. If there are new hints about the cases left slightly open, so they could be continued maybe one, two or five books later. The planned hooks that are there in sketched novel plans that would hopefully some day come true. If there was continuance.
I'd like to ask my colleagues, how many unpublished book scripts they have written. I can tell my toll. In the past, as an unpublished author, I wrote six full-length scripts with no luck to get them published. One of them was rewritten three times for a large publisher. I did get great feedback from most of those scripts, but only one of those letters used the clear language people outside the publishing industry could understand: "Do these changes, and offer it to us again." Unfortunately, while doing this rewriting the editor in charge changed. The new one didn't want to go on with it. Personal tastes, I thought. Disappointment, of course.
I wrote more scripts.  Sent the seventh one into a novel contest and managed to reach top 3 spot. Original Finnish version of Medusa was published in print. It was republished as an e-book last year and finally in English, also as an e-book, this August.
But life is not easy with all this turmoil. After my last novel was published in print, along my jumping into e-book business, I've written new scripts and edited old ones. I could say that there are nearly ten full-length scripts needing work or normal editing process. Additionally there are nearly finished works, half-written writings, writings being done piece by piece. There are sketches for novels written here and there.
As writers know, going back to old scripts can be refreshing, even fun. But also tiresome.
New ideas, even about  fully different kinds of scripts, are already making their way in the head. Along with the new well-planned parts of the series that would tell where the events in already published books lead to.
If someone again pops me the question: "Are you working on a new book?", I nowadays answer: "Yes, which one of them?"
Only thing is that should I be adding to that: "But I'm not sure if you ever get to read them."
Unless e-book saga continues.