Now that my Bad Princess news is out in the world*, here’s a sample of what I’m reading these days. Each of these are fascinating in their own way.
I have a June deadline for this book, so I am very nose-to-the-grindstone in the studio. Though much of the book is mapped out, there’s still much to do. I’m fortunate to be enjoying such good reading along the way.
*After my announcement on Facebook and Twitter, I was astounded by all the lovely messages. Please know how grateful I am for all of your kind wishes about Bad Princess!
Bad Princess will be published in time for the 2017 holiday season. Interweaving royal biography, history, and pop culture with insight, Bad Princess is a witty and fascinating examination of all things pink and royal. It offers a thinking girl’s look at what it means to be a princess, enabling her to reclaim this most feminine of role models—whether or not it involves glass slippers and a gown.
So hooray! More news coming soon—and back to work I go.
I’m away through the end of January at a writer’s residency at the Virginia Center of the Creative Arts, where I’ll be hard at work on my new novel. During my absence, I decided to repost some old blog favorites about publishing and the creative process. Enjoy!
Of late I’ve been wondering if are there rules for embarking on a new book or creative project—a subject brought to mind after a writer on Facebook mentioned his set of rules. After mulling a bit, I realized that I do have some. Though my rules no doubt differ from others, they’ve proven fairly consistent over the years.
Rule 1: I shouldn’t be bored. I must fall in love with the book completely and desperately. Both of these qualities are essential because I may be spending years living with it. (Though DOOMED QUEENS took me just over a year to create, THE LOVER’S PATH entailed almost a decade of on-and-off work. That’s a hefty chunk of time.)
Rule 2: The process of creating the book, or its subject matter, should scare me a little. Or a lot. I look upon the presence of fear as a sign that I’m growing as an artist. Sometimes my fear may be in an “oh my god this project is going to challenge me. I’m not sure if my skills are up to it.” (I definitely felt this way when I began writing my novels. Thank goodness for National Novel Writing Month, which pushed me beyond my initial “I don’t know how to write a novel” resistance.) Or my fear might be due to the subject matter. For example, when I first thought of the concept for DOOMED QUEENS, it scared me to death: a humorous book about how royal women were disempowered throughout history? Who would want to read this? Would people be offended? Fortunately, my literary agent pushed me to embrace the darkness amid the light. Voila, DOOMED QUEENS was born and went on to became one of my most critically praised books.
Rule 3: Finally, I need to have fun while working. If a project isn’t fun, what’s the point?
So, my creative rules for choosing to work on a book come down to:
- no boredom
- embrace the fear
- have fun
That’s my formula. However, I haven’t included my biggest rule of all: to produce the best publication I possibly can, using all of the artistic knowledge and skills I possess.
What about you? Do you have any rules for choosing your creative projects?
Above photograph: Craft project by Thea for her clubhouse.
Have I mentioned I’m giving an author reading at the Cortelyou Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library next Saturday, April 13 at 3pm? Well, I am. I’ll be talking about the publishing process (minus tears) and reading from DOOMED QUEENS and THE LILY MAID. If I feel bold, I might even include a peak at my new novel underway, a gothic-inspired concoction set in 1850s England and France.
Here are the details:
1305 Cortelyou Rd. at Argyle Rd.
Brooklyn, NY 11226
Subway: Q train to Cortelyou Road
This event is sponsored by Friends of Cortelyou Library. Hope to see you there!
Above photo: Daffodil Hill in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens this spring.