Monday, September 24, 2012

So my new book comes out in two hours. That's it up there: my 351-page sojourn into a world of grief, love, and right-wing nutjobs, with (I believe) literature's first homicidal Quiverfull fundamentalist mom. I like to break new ground.

I'm nervous. Pregnancy and birth metaphors are used lavishly among authors, so I hate to join the cliché, but it's true-- having a second book come out does feel a lot like having a second baby. With the first one, you have no idea what you're getting into but you have this written birth plan you're very sure everyone will stick to; you made copies in triplicate, to make sure you and the doc and the unborn child are all on the same page. And then you still end up hooked up to a bag of Pitocin, you're not dilating fast enough, and as a result the infant is not born onto the New York Times Bestseller List. It can be bewildering for any new mom. The second time, you know how wonderful it all will be, but also that you can hardly control a damn thing about it. That part is scary.

Here's what the book is about:

"When Elias at long last comes home from the war, Jill's first impression of her future brother-in-law is of a gruff and battle-hardened soldier, nothing like his charismatic and ambitious brother Cade. But the Olmstead boys aren't as different as they first appear: raised in rural New England in a family torn in two by extremist views, both aspire to something higher than the toxic environment of their upbringing. It's a family dynamic Jill doesn't understand, but as she and Cade retreat to the farm to wait out the birth of their child, it becomes clear to her that the family home is no less a battlefield than the one Elias left behind.

As the family's troubled history and the war's psychic toll churn to form a perfect storm, Jill is convinced that she and Cade have been brought here by fate to prevent a tragedy. But when their efforts fail, Cade's angry grief spawns a desire for revenge against the government he believes abandoned his brother. Jill believes his love for his infant son will set a limit on how far he's willing to go-- but in the Olmstead family, it's never safe to presume a person will be reasonable."

As you might imagine, it was tough to write. Really tough-- more so than The Kingdom of Childhood in many ways, because with that book I had lots of time and nothing to lose, and this one was more or less the reverse of that. I'm very happy with how it turned out, and now, as it finally hits the bookstores, I'm going to use this blog to take you-- my faithful readers-- through the next five weeks with me, day by day. In that time you'll get to see me:

1. Promote the new book (Heaven Should Fall)

2. Finish writing the work-in-progress (Wonder Girl) that's due to my editor on October 31

3. Obsess about the previous book (The Kingdom of Childhood)

4. Work my day job, raise my family, prevent my husband from giving up and leaving me, et cetera

5. And attempt to lose the thirteen pounds I gained in a sudden, frenetic burst of chocolate dependency last fall while revising Heaven Should Fall.

Stick around and join me for the ride. It'll be the Here Comes Honey Boo Boo of professional writing. See you tomorrow, and wish me luck.


  1. Congratulations on your new release! I loved The Kingdom of Childhood, and I can't wait to read Heaven Should Fall.

  2. Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it. And I'm working hard on a nice shocking book for next fall, so I'll try to keep you busy reading ;-)