This is Ellie, from book 2, embarrassed and trying to melt into the floor.Suddenly my time is my own, again.
I've been working nonstop since September on the second Ellie book, first some marketing stuff with the publisher and then the revised art and writing for it.
All during November I worked all day and all night on the book. I stayed up til 2, 3, 4 in the morning. Sometimes til after 6am. Sometimes I went to bed at 3 and had to get up at 7:30 to get my daughter to school. It was a grueling schedule, definitely.
I missed some very important events. I don't even want to list them because if I think about it too much I'll be too sad and will question my priorities.
Basically I put my life on hold, for the book.
Nobody asked me to.
Nobody forced it on me.
I have a weird sense of focus when it comes to books.
Whether reading them or creating them, I enter the world of the characters and it's nearly impossible to come back out before the job is done.
With Harry, Hermione and Ron, my teenage self became the fourth buddy, the one not mentioned in the book by the author. I hung out with Hermione in the girls' dorm. I had a crush on both Ron and Harry, and wondered whose side Snape was on. In that big cataclysmic fight scene I was there, helping our guys to triumph over evil.
It's the same way with my Ellie McDoodle books. I become part of the book, both observer and creator, an unwritten and unmentioned character who goes on every adventure, shares in every secret and sometimes wishes my real life was so exciting.
(Actually, my real life is plenty exciting, but a lot of that is due to the books!)
All through November I lived the Ellie book.
I sent the last package of art and text to arrive on my editor's desk on the last day of the month.
There will still be little revisions, and the first package of the first 44 pages has some very rough art in it, so there are about 11 illustrations that I know will need redrawing.
But the bulk of it is done.
Book 2 is written.
I think you'll enjoy it. I laughed a few times, out loud, while writing it.
I felt Ellie's angst and I understood her pain in certain scenes.
I think the reader will, also.
Ellie McDoodle: New Kid in School won't be on bookshelves until the end of June. In this book, Ellie starts at a new school in a new city without any friends.
Like me, Ellie has trouble sleeping before the big event.
Here's a sneak peek at page 66:
Now, I can't wait for the whole thing to be printed into a galley and then published as a real book.
I think it's a good one!
But there's plenty of things to do before the book comes out.
Like answer all this email.
I have 958 messages accumulated, which need responses. Very few of them need only filing or deleting.
If you've written me and you've waited patiently for two months for a response, know that you've got plenty of company, and I might be responding soon...