Thursday, June 11, 2009

The wait begins...

Two weeks ago, I sent off to my agent the manuscript of my second Dulcie Schwartz mystery, Grey Matters. Today, I sent her the ms. for Dogs Don't Lie. Now, the waiting begins.

No, I didn't write a book in two weeks. I had written Dogs Don't Lie for fun, starting about a year ago. The basic premise - of a hard-boiled tough gal who just happens to be able to hear what animals are thinking - comes from a short story I wrote for Dead Fall, an anthology of New England crime writers. I'd been reading a lot of noir (Megan Abbott, Linda L. Richards) and thinking about the whole cutesy "animal psychic" thing and, voila, Pru Marlowe and her irascible tabby Wallis were born. If it takes off, I want to call the genre "pet noir," as in "bete noir." Of course, we'll have to see if it takes off.

Once I had drafted Dogs Don't Lie, I got some happy news. My editor at Severn House wanted a sequel to Shades of Grey - and wrote it into the contract. And so in January, I set Dogs Don't Lie aside and threw myself into writing Grey Matters. I wrote it pretty quickly, for me. I'm sure it will need revisions, but I think I turned in a pretty strong mystery, so I have reason to believe she'll like it. And once that was sent off, I could go back to revise Dogs Don't Lie. It was sort of perfect timing – I still loved the book, but enough time had passed so I could see its flaws. Dogs Don't Lie is not under contract to anyone, and so next week my agent will just start sending it out.

Sounds good, right? I actually like being this busy and despite a sense of growing fatigue (and growing disgust with the state of my office), I've been happy these past few months. It's the new part - the waiting - that I can't stand. This part of the process just wrecks me. As soon as I'd sent off DDL, I started worrying that I hadn't hidden a crucial clue well enough. And then that I'd hidden it so well that it wouldn't make sense. Now I've even started worrying that my Severn House editor won't want Grey Matters. Basically, I'm swinging between wild optimism (these are my best works ever... Dogs Don't Lie will be my breakout book) and despair (you can fill in the blanks).

I am tired. I need to clean my office and catch up on my outside assignments. The waiting has begun.


Ingrid King said...

Dogs? You wrote a book about dogs? How does Musetta feel about that?! :-)

Dogs Don't Lie sounds great! I actually think that we all have the ability to "hear" what our animals are thinking . People often think of animal communicators as "Dr. Dolittle" or worse, a psychic in a dark room with a crystal ball, when, in fact, the reality of animal communication is actually based in science. While viewed as controversial by some, research by scientists such as former biologist and author Rupert Sheldrake has suggested evidence of telepathic communication. I think it's an innate ability we all have, especially as children. It's often expressed through imaginary friends, or by reporting what the family pet "said". As we get older, we tend to block this natural way of being. Individuals such as St. Francis of Assissi and Jane Gooddall have demonstrated animal communication in various ways. Okay - getting carried away here, but it IS an intriguing concept to me and I think this book will resonate with a lot of people.

I hope you allow yourself some time to celebrate this incredibly productive phase you've just completed. I'm tired just thinking about all you've accomplished.

Dogs Don't Lie will be a huge success - and you'll have to answer to Musetta... :-)

Clea Simon said...

Thanks, Ingrid. Actually, DDL isn't about dogs - but there's a dog who sort of plays the role of the "dumb blonde" in it. She's a heartbroken, rescued pitbull who has been set up for the murder of the gentle geek who rescued her. My heroine is trying to get to the bottom of it, but the dog is too shellshocked to really tell her what happened... and who would believe her, anyway?

My heroine's sidekick, an irascible tabby named Wallis, has a lot of Musetta in her. THough I think Musetta would deny that.

Anonymous said...

I just went to your web site and read Chapter 1 of your first Mr. Gray book. It sounds like a winner! Good luck with it.

Pat Browning

Ellen said...

"a heartbroken, rescued pitbull": We recently adopted a sweet young pitbull from a local rescue organization, so I definitely look forward to reading Dogs Don't Lie!