My first book, the goose girl, was published seven years ago, fall 2003. That fall I did some local appearances as well as traveled to NYC and Denver to promote the book. Every fall since I've had a book tour and conferences. Autumn is book trip season, so it's quite a change to be at home all autumn this year, holding my two babies and not even writing much at all.
Last year at this time I was promoting forest born. What an interesting journey that book was. I wrote it over a three year period from an idea I'd had years before. It was probably the single most difficult book to write that I've ever done. It's hard to explain why some books are harder to write than others. I don't think anyone could tell from finished product. Some characters are more elusive adn it takes me longer to figure out who they are and why their story matters. By the time I was done with forest born in December 2008, I was so sick of it, so exhausted by it, I couldn't stand the book anymore. I couldn't look at a page without experiencing PTSD. I knew intellectually that I had done right by Rin's story but emotionally I was drained. I didn't think I would ever love that book.
I love that book. THe memory of the labor pains have faded, and now I'm so proud of it. When I think of its characters and scenes, I get a thrill. I hope when I'm 80 I'm still writing books and writing books like that. I love Rin. I love her adventures, I love where she begins and where she arrives. I love the language of the book. Lines will pop into my head occassionally and make me feel warm and content. I'm so grateful I was able to recognize that her story had to be different from Enna's and Isi's. I'm grateful Razo got to play a significant part. I'm happy we got to know Ma and see Isi from Rin's eyes. I loved the journey and Castle Daire and the woods. I'm so lucky I get to do what I love.
People ask authors, what's your favorite book you've read? I can't ever answer that because there are too many. But truthfully, I love my own books. I have to be careful saying that because it sounds so vain. I certainly don't think that I'm the greatest writer ever and that everyone should love my books. But really, if I'm going to be a writer, why wouldn't I write the kinds of books that would be my favorites? The secret, pocketed goal with every book I write is, write a book that you could read dozens of times adn find something new, whose characters could be your best friends, whose worlds make you long to live there--a book that could be your very favorite. People often assume a writer is their main character. I'm not any of mine. But this much is certainly revealing: I want to be best friends with them. I hope they would like me. Like I like that Rinna-girl.
Here's another fan art piece, this one inspired by forest born, done by grey-daydreams.
The artist chose text from the book that was significant for me and has ideas in it that I stole from writings I did 25 years ago. Interesting how no writing is ever wasted. It says:
How did these things happen? How did living become dagger-sharp and dangerous and everything so murky and cold, no way home, no light, just wandering and wandering and being locked up and killing and dying and pain?
The weight of the world hung above her head, threatening to crush her, promising the end of everything.
She wanted to be far away. She could not run, she could not let herself scream, and in desperation she sought out the one thing she could to survive the moment.
She remembered the calm of a tree.