February greetings, friendly neighbors! January pretty much zoomed by in like three seconds. I think it was a combination of being on deadline with my new book and…no, that was it. Writing the final City Love trilogy book was not easy. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to my girls. But now I am already starting my next book – which will be the 12th – and I am excited for this new beginning in a way I haven’t been before. The City Love trilogy is the only series I’ve written, and it has sort of become a diving line between my previous novels and what is to come. No worries, I will still be writing realistic teen love stories! There is just a bright new energy in the air here at the home office in New York City.
Authors can’t always rely on a set schedule year to year. Every time we sign a new book contract, we are agreeing to a new delivery deadline for the manuscript and tentative publication date. This is why I have been extremely fortunate that for the past ten years, my new book has always been due on February 1, and every book has been released in May (except for City Love, which came out last April). Being on the same schedule every year works well for organization freaks like me.
When I submit a new manuscript, it is actually my third draft, not a first draft. Writing a first draft is the most difficult part of the process for me. Facing the blank page can be terrifying. But the key is to dive into writing a new book without fear. Let the words flow. Let them glide you down meandering streams, race you through steep valleys, and arrive at an aqua sea glittering in the sunshine…which is how I feel when I print out that first draft. The manuscript still needs tons of work, but at least I have something on paper to work with. I like to do my second draft on the hard copy, then the third draft back on the screen. But that’s just how I work. Every writer works differently. The important thing is to find what works best for you, and then work it and own it.
Speaking of diving in…have you read This Raging Light by Estelle Laure?
How gorgeous is this cover? The second I saw it I wanted to dive right into its painted paper. And I don’t even know how to swim. This beautiful design is a perfect reflection of the beauty of Estelle Laure’s writing. I was riveted the whole time. You know those books that are so good you stay up reading until four in the morning, your eyes burning out of your head, knowing you will pay the next day but not caring? Oh yeah. This Raging Light takes you places. I cannot wait for the sequel, These Mighty Forces, coming next January. Snaps to Estelle for her extraordinary debut!
Speaking of debuts…it’s kind of blowing my mind that my first novel, When It Happens, came out 10 years ago. And get this. My new book, Lost in Love, will be released 10 years to the day of When It Happens on May 3, 2016.
You know how I love a good non-coincidence.
So what will this next stage of my career bring? Too early to say. All I know is that I am excited to dive into writing a new book and let the energy of New York City keep inspiring me every day. This energy makes me feel alive. See, my city love isn’t about a boy. It’s about this place I knew in my heart was my true home way before I got here 20 years ago. It’s about visualizing my dream life and taking steps every day towards making that dream reality. And, as always, remaining dedicated to writing books that hopefully make you feel less alone. You are why I write. And I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Here’s to those magic changes <3