2014 was kind of a transition year for me in terms of writing. I took a break from writing fiction and worked instead on our RV self-help book, Tips for New RVers: Catchin' the Dream.
It was a fun way for Dick (aka RVPainter) and me to re-live our year on the road and to put some closure on the experience. We really felt that we were the quintessential "Newbies" when we started RVing and that we learned SO much about what to do and what not to do; what worked and what didn't. It just made sense to us to share that with others in the hope that it would help them avoid some of our mistakes and missteps.
Everyone embarking on an adventure like that will encounter situations that test them, but if we can help make it a little easier for even a few people, well, that would make us feel good. It takes courage to live on the road and I am proud of what we did and grateful for the experiences - the wonderful ones AND the trying ones - because they all taught me that I can do much more than I ever imagined and also taught me a great deal about myself and about letting go. It was truly the experience of a lifetime.
As we glide into 2015, I feel ready to return to my true calling - fiction writing. My next book is actually already started, but it's been setting on the back burner for a while. I needed to put some distance between Return to Canterbury (the sequel to The Christmas Village) and this new book, and to get the RVing book out of my system. I am not a writer who can move quickly from one project to the next, because I create these fictional worlds that I live in for quite a long time, so it takes me a while to move on from them.
Writing Return to Canterbury was bittersweet, because when it ended, I knew that my visits with Jamie, Kelly, Christopher, Ida, Rusty, Reggie and all the characters of Canterbury had also come to an end. They say that endings are beginnings - and they are - but I need to take some time to honor my endings before starting new beginnings.
My next book will be historical fiction. Not a children's book, but more a coming-of-age story that takes place in England at the start of World War II. It's inspired by my mother's experience, which I've written about at this blog in the past. But it's only inspired by it - it's not her actual experience because I know very little about what that was. I think of it as a way of writing the story that might have been. That's the great thing about being a writer, you get to tell the story your way and you get to change the ending. And, you get to get even with mean people by turning them into characters that everyone will love to hate :)
As far as describing the type of book I hope this next one will be - well, think of a cross between All the Light We Cannot See, Orphan Train, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I know that's a tall order, but I'm aiming high. When I was a kid, my dream was never "to be a famous author;" my dream was "to write the kind of wonderful books that I like to read." That's still my dream. Sure, I'd love for my books to be best sellers, but I want that to be the result of them being wonderful books, not fad books with throwaway story lines that no one remembers a year later. So I'll be entering a new world soon and I expect to get lost there for quite some. Dick gave me a t-shirt once with this saying on it: "I'm in my own little world, but it's okay, they know me here." That pretty much sums it up.
Wishing everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year. May your dreams come come, and may they be all that you hoped they would be.