I recently finished the initial drafts of my final book—1640—in The Manhattan Series. The story of NYC’s (and Manhattan’s) birth wraps up in this novella, and even though this one is a little shorter than the prior two, it took longer to complete. Why? Read on…
The story I’m writing is based on true events, and from 1639 to 1644 many significant ones occurred that shaped NYC’s (and Manhattan’s) history in important ways. The relationship between the Dutch and the Native inhabitants was stretched to the breaking point. Things that actually happened were so surprising to me that I had to double- and triple-check my research to confirm them. So a lot of extra time was spent revisiting sources and histories of the era.
Then there were some personal issues that took me away from writing. One was a needed trip to Austin, Texas, to visit my Mom and my sister’s family. They’re doing well but I wanted to see for myself. Note that this was before the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, which mostly spared Austin.
And I couldn’t visit Austin without taking in some live music, could I? (Austin boastfully calls itself “The Live Music Capital of the World”) So my sister steered us to the landmark Continental Club in South Austin one night. Even though I had gone to college in Austin and spent another year working there, I had never before visited this famous music dive.
As soon as I walked in the door and saw the lettering of the club’s name hanging from the red-draped stage, I knew that I had just walked back in time. The sign (that you can just make out in the photo below) was right out of the ’50s, and when I asked the manager when the club was established, he confirmed it: 1955. A blues band (The Blues Specialists) that had been playing there for 30 years cranked up and I was heaven.
Finally, notice that I said “drafts” at the top of this post. In the prior books of this series, I made a couple rounds of revisions before sending it to my editors. This time, however, I’ve been sweating the details and spending more time on these revised drafts. I read a recent blog post by Indie-author superstar Hugh Howey, and he recommends going over and revising a fiction manuscript at least 10-12 times! Each time concentrating on a specific aspect of the work. Well, 12 revisions before outside editing is a bit much, but I am taking his advice to go over things carefully. And besides, this is the last book in the series and things need to wrap up right.
So if you’ve been wondering where Book 4 of my four-book series is, you won’t have much longer to wait. Count on sometime after the Equinox (“the Balance of Days”) but way before the Solstice (“the Turning of the Days”). If you’ve read any of the other books in the series, you should know exactly when those are.