Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Rare Luxury...Or Not

One of the things that make this writing business a bit crazy is that authors are usually one or more books ahead of their publishers. For those of us on a one-book-a-year schedule, our next book is typically due on our editor's desk at the beginning of the same month our newest release is coming out. Thus, with the release of When Maidens Mourn scheduled for 6 March, the final manuscript for the next book in the series, What Darkness Brings, was due 1 March. This has two effects. First of all, authors find themselves suddenly having to talk about a book they finished some twelve months before and generally wiped from their minds in order to focus on the story at hand. But perhaps the most brutal aspect of this kind of schedule is that an author can find herself frantically pushing to finish a manuscript at exactly the same time she needs to devote loads of time to scheduling book signings, doing interviews, writing guest blog posts, updating websites, designing newsletters, etc, etc. It can make life pretty insane.

So this year I was feeling rather cocky. Once, I'd had dreams of finishing the eighth book in the Sebastian series by last fall, which would have given me four or more "found" months to start a new book. That didn't happen, thanks to some scary family illnesses, my daughter's wedding, and a ton of houseguests. But I still finished my manuscript with weeks to spare. And I thought, This is nice; for once I'll escape that deadly double crunch that always comes right before a book's release.

But you know what? Having finished book #8, I'm now deep into the planning of book #9. This is, for me, one of the most intense and pleasurable of the stages of writing. And just when I want to lose myself in the creation of this new story, I find myself instead constantly answering emails from my editor and publicist, designing newsletters, trying to remember when my next interview is. Which just goes to show that there's no pleasing some people.

An updated schedule of events:

February 28, 6:30 PM & March 3, 12:30 PM (CST)
Interview with Susan Larson on "The Reading Life"
Listen live on line or access the archives at

Saturday, March 10, 2-4 PM
Garden District Book Shop
Corner of Washington Avenue and Prytania Street
New Orleans, Louisiana
Book signing

Saturday, March 25
Tennessee Williams/ New Orleans Literary Festival
11:30 AM-12:45 PM panel—"Bet You Can't Read Just One: Mysteries for Fun"
Muriel's Jackson Square
New Orleans, Louisiana
With Ace Atkins, Barbara Hambly, and Greg Herren

Saturday, March 31, 4:30
Murder by the Book
2342 Bissonnet
Houston, Texas

I'll also be doing a guest blog on Wednesday, 29 February at Paperback Dolls.

Now you'll have to excuse me, because in the mists of my imagination, Sebastian is on his way to confront Marie-Therese, the daughter of Marie Antoinette. And Gibson has just rescued this lovely Frenchwoman with a mysterious past who....

Note: the above beautiful image is by Jon Miller Whiteny. Visit his site at jomiwi.com.


Barbara Caridad Ferrer said...

Now that was just MEAN, Candy!

Anonymous said...

Oh! So cruel!!! If you could have just finished that sentence! How can I be impatient for that book, when a new one is about to come out? I am addicted...

Anonymous said...

Ok,so close and yet so far. I'm going to be in Texas, but not until mid-April. 'Course it will be Dallas and not Houston. Good luck on your appearances and signings. I'm a broken record about the Pacific Northwest, but hopeful sometime you'll be out here. One more week until release date. YEAH!!!!! I can't even think about #9. Glad you are though. Sabena

Mom in High Heels said...

Seriously? You tease.
We're visiting the States (very close to NOLA), but won't be there until mid-April. Boo.

cs harris said...

Barbara, my husband said the same thing when he read it!

Anon, And here I though everyone was going to LIKE being given a peak at what will happen next!

Sabena, someday, maybe. I spent a big chunk of my growing up years in Oregon and Idaho, so I'd love to go back.

M in HH, sorry!

paz said...

I found your post very intriguing. One of the less attractive aspects of being an academic these days is the feeling of having to go from one project to the next immediately. Always envied writers. Little did I know!

I can see why people want to hear more about the boys' "road trip" to France. Meanwhile, all I want to know is the eyecolor of Sebastian and Hero's baby. Longest gestation indeed!

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I'm so excited. Just got the notice that B&N created the shipping label for my hardcopy. The excitement is building.... (I do have the Kindle version on order just in case UPS messes up on the hard copy delivery). Sabena

cs harris said...

Paz, I'm already trying to think about books 10 and 11, because I know it takes me so long to come up with an idea that excites me. Oh, and the boys don't go to France in this next book, since Marie Antoinette's daughter was actually living outside of London in 1813. But I must confess that I do intend to send them to France eventually! As for the baby's eye color and sex...my lips are sealed!

Sabena, I had them put scene break icons in this book, so hopefully some of the problems I heard about missing scene breaks in the Kindle version will be avoided this time.

Kate H said...

Just to let you know that my copy of "When Maidens Mourn" was delivered by Amazon UK this afternoon (I live south of London, UK). I may not be able to wait until my birthday on the 27th to start reading it - I started re-reading "What Angels Fear" on Monday, so I'll finish reading all the prevous books first. Keep up the good work!

Jillian Kent said...

Just wanted to let you know how much I'm enjoying your Sebastian St. Cyr series. I've just finished, When Gods Die, and have the 3rd one sitting on my bookshelf. My first book in a regency series came out last May, book two comes out this May and book 3 is due to the publisher on June 1st. I'm just learning how crazy this can all be on top of the day job, etc. As anonymous said about your series, I'm addicted.

paz said...

Just finished reading a NYTimes post on porphyria, and remembered your author's notes in "Angels..."


cs harris said...

Kate, I'm sure you have many stateside readers jealous!

Jillian, thanks so much. I'm glad to hear you're enjoying them. Good luck with your own series!

Paz, interesting article--and scary, if you read all the misdiagnoses in the comments section! Believe it or not, in some countries they routinely do genetic testing on EVERYONE to check for porphyria; here in the US the cost recently "came down" to $2,000, not usually covered by insurance.

Anonymous said...

Sigh - I finished yesterday. It arrived on my doorstep at 5pm on Friday. I was going to take it slow. Only 100 pages on Friday night. I was going to do only 100 yesterday and just couldn't help myself. FANTASTIC. I loved the scene at the flower market (trying not to give anything away). I think there was one typo - a Fox instead of a Knox; or was I reading too fast and missed there was supposed to be a Fox? The mystery was great. Thanks, Candy, for once again sharing your wonderful characters with us. Now, how long until the next one? And still no baby in that one. Humph! Sabena

Carrie said...

I am rereading Where Shadows Dance while anxiously awaiting When Maidens Mourn. Being a very visual person, I like to imagine the characters while I read. I am having an especially hard time picturing Hero. I was wondering if you, Candy, and your readers have ever "cast" the roles of your characters. If so, who do you pick to play the parts?

RevMelinda said...

Today a very pregnant friend was saying that she'll be induced on Tuesday. "Hmm, March 6," I thought, "How nice that the baby will be born on a holiday." Took me a few minutes to realize it's not a holiday, it's New Sebastian Novel Release Day (or in my case, New Sebastian Novel Download Day. Which maybe should be a Holiday (big H). Which I have a feeling WILL be a holiday (small h)for me nevertheless.

Really looking forward to reading it, Candice.

cs harris said...

Sabena, I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed it, and sorry about the typo. I'm afraid my mind sees what it expects to see, rather than what's actually there, but that sounds like a pretty blatant one to have missed. What Darkness Bring is scheduled for March 2013, probably the first Tuesday, whenever that is.

Carrie, I know a lot of writers have magazine photos they stick up on their walls, or actors they keep in mind when they write, but I've never done that. I'd also have a hard time casting a Sebastian movie, in that I can't actually think of an actress that quite fits Hero. I see her as a woman not beautiful in the classic sense, but with even, pleasant features and the kind of smile that lights up her face and makes you think she's beautiful, even though you know she really isn't.

RevMelinda, that's funny! I do hope you enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Hello Candy,

This is a message from a huge fan of Sebastian's series from Spain. I have just finished reading "When Maidens Mourn" in this very moment (needless to say that I loved it, how couldn't I?) and thus decided to open your blog for some info about the next installment ...

And indeed, I have found,after reading this post, that you are maybe planning to give Gibson's character a story of his own? I do hope so! I really like him and I am always waiting to see a little bit more of him in the books.

I hope next Sebastian's adventure comes out .. sooner! Alicia

Steve Malley said...

Oy vey! They sure do jump you through some hoops, don't they? :)

Steve Malley said...

Oy vey! They sure do jump you through some hoops, don't they? :)

JC Jones said...

Oh! That is awful. Here we have to wait and year and you are already giving hints on a book we won't be able to read for 2 years.