“The Write Stuff”

52 Pick-up 2.0, #41, 10/13/2020

“I was wondering, when you finish a book do you take some time off, celebrate, or do you start right back in again?”
-Betty Durbar

Hi Betty,

You know, that celebration-thing sounds like a really great idea, but I’ve never done it… My wife, Judy, is a big one for recognizing the important moments in our lives and reminds me to stop and smell the roses if you will, something I just plain forget to do. Writing a novel is a year-long project and quite an undertaking, but it’s also a joy for me. I love writing, it’s the celebration that’s alien. You know what I do? I start a new book. I’m superstitious that way because I don’t like leaving the characters hanging. I guess I feel like they’re not there if they’re not on the page. Sounds weird, huh?

Judy usually talks me into going out to dinner, or makes something special that she knows I like, which isn’t hard in that she’s a marvelous cook. In case you happened to have missed it, my mobile studio in the kitchen at the ranch is the computer sitting on a stack of cookbooks.

I sometime treat myself by buying something, but it’s usually not anything all that exciting. This year it was a new floor in the tack room which doesn’t sound all that great, but I walked in there the other day and a floor joist collapsed and I was suddenly eight inches shorter. When I originally built the barn, I did it on a shoestring and used rough-cut, untreated lumber, and over its twenty-year tenure… Anyway, the replacement floor is almost done, which is important because it’s where the barn cats keep warm in the winter and they’re responsible for patrolling the barn and keeping the field mice from launching an all-out assault on my saddles and tack. Besides, the racoons have to have somewhere to celebrate and eat out.

As soon as I finish a book, I type that first sentence and to be honest I usually start in on that novel relatively fast. I always laugh whenever someone criticizes a book as “rushed” and that it feels as if I was “under the gun” and in a hurry to meet a deadline with the publisher. The most recent novel, Next To Last Stand was eight years of research in the making and was turned in two months early. I always submit my books early–they’re ready and I don’t see any reason in having the publisher wait; it gives them an extra month or two in production and that’s always helpful. Besides, it allows me the ability to get going on the next, or any other projects like the next novella which is something I’m champing at the bit to get going on.

​Every book is different, and I suppose some readers find that off-putting, but writing the same, formulaic-type novels would be a death sentence. I guess that’s the joy of what I do, the freedom to try something new with every novel. Each one is an opportunity to strike off in another direction and cover new ground. I’ve got some really exciting books in the offing, not all of them that readers might be particularly used to in the mystery or western genre. It’s interesting to see the initial response to some of these more out-lying ideas and then to see the response after they’ve been around for a bit.

I’d write more, but I’ve got a novel to get down on paper… Tee-hee.

See you on the trail,
Craig