“So, What’s Your Next Book?”

No sooner had the ink had a chance to dry on Love, Bill, that I’ve been plagued by the constantly recurring question, “So, what’s your next book?” It was bad enough that while I was working on the book I had to endure, “So, when will the book be finished?” Well, it is, and now that doesn’t seem to be enough…

“Really?” I ask myself. This is akin to the question that follows a marriage…”So, when are you having a baby?” And then as soon as the first baby is born comes, “So, when are you having another baby?”

What is it about our culture that can’t allow us to savor the moment, enjoy the present without having to immediately move on to the next thing? You know, “smell the roses.” Never mind the fact that my first book wasn’t  part of a grand scheme, but rather a pleasant surprise that kinda happened. I’m still getting used to the idea that I’m a published author. Or that it took me five years to conceive and write it, and in the process, it dredged up deep emotions and personal soul searching. Oy…exhausting. And there’s no logical sequel here. Or the reality that I am always writing — just other things like lectures, museum labels, and even struggling to write something periodically (apparently not enough) on this blog. And never mind that I’m still trying to navigate the confusing world of social media — an author “have to do.” Or that it takes an almost full-time effort, not to mention the considerable expense, to market the current book. Writers like Stephen King and John Grisham have a whole team supporting them; they also have achieved the fame that allows them to do nothing but write — good for them. It’s not so easy to shamelessly self-promote the book in every social situation you find yourself in. What about the fact that the book is only now garnering a healthy number of awards and recognition? Can’t I at least take the time to enjoy each new gold or silver sticker that I get to affix to each book cover? Even the Oscars wait a year between award ceremonies.

So where does that leave me? I will never say “never” when it comes to writing another book. Just like with Love, Bill, I don’t know if or when the inspiration might come. But it will have to be an equally compelling project to be worthy of an Act II. Yes, I certainly enjoyed the creative process. I loved the research and the joy that came from seeing the words flow onto the computer screen — sometimes it was as if they came from a place far beyond me. And yes, there is nothing like the feeling of opening that first box of books. I don’t think that I’ve ever felt so proud of an accomplishment in my life. I would love to feel that rush again. In the meantime, however, allow me to bask a little longer in the glow of Love, Bill. It took me most my life to create it. I think it’s only fair  to be given a fraction of that time to replace it with something else.

“What’s the hurry?” I ask.

Another Review

Love, Bill just received another great review from the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Book Awards:

Love, Bill starts out as woman’s search for information about the father who died when she was six, but it’s much more. The unexpected turns the book takes and the questions that are raised keep readers interested right up until the end. The author is a skilled, confident writer, who understands how to reel a story out. Just when a reader is thinking ‘Gee, it’s tough only seeing Bill’s letters and not seeing Dorothy’s,’ she addresses the issue. And while it is an issue – it gives us great empathy and compassion for Bill while 1940s Dorothy is a voiceless shadow figure at first – the author turns the tables. Her efforts to find out more about what happened and her mother’s first marriage make this a layered and intensely fascinating book. Credit also goes to Bill. His letters are well-written and poetic. His depiction of the train wheels in the Sept. 1, 1944, letter saying ‘no hope, no hope’ and ‘no more, no more’ are heart-rending. They stay in a reader’s mind and when the author mentions it later, the reader is delighted. That leads to another wonderful element in this book — the author goes forward, then comes back, instead of dumping everything she wants to say at once. The author uses communication, not only her father’s letters, but communications she has with people as she tries to uncover the mysteries of the book, well… The ending letter from the author to her father is an excellent frame for the story. When the author in the first chapter mentions sitting on the front stoop waiting for her father to come home, it’s heartbreaking. The photo at the end of the author as an adult on that stoop, as well the mention of it in her letter, give the story closure. The cover is beautifully done and the interior formatting is professional and readable, including the use of photos.” –Judge, 25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards


On a Roll…

What a week! I just received word that Love, Bill was named  Finalist in the Best New Nonfiction category of the 2017 Best Book Awards! The 2017 Best Book Awards brought in over 2,000 entries, one of the biggest years since starting this program in 2004. According to the contest organizers, by placing in this year’s awards, I have beat out 75% of my fellow entrants. WOW! You can read more about the contest and winners at the following link:  http://americanbookfest.com/2017bbafullresults.html

Love, Bill

And the Silver Medal Goes to…..

Thanks to everyone for their “Congratulations” and “Good Wishes” upon receiving the news that Love, Bill was awarded the Silver Medal for Nonfiction in the 2017 Arizona Literary Awards. It came in second out of 72 entries in my category! Needless to say, I am very thrilled and honored. As I said when I received the award, one of the things that I learned in writing the book was that Dad’s dream was to be a writer. One of my dreams was to “find” him. I think that both of our dreams have now come true!