I need to make a very unpopular announcement.
I am very sorry, but I have decided to delay the release of ONCE UPON A ROSE until later in the fall. By “decided”, I guess I should say that the book decided for me. While it is “finished”, it is not good yet. I’ve never before released a book that I did not personally love, and I don’t want to start now.
But that’s not quite fair to put it all on the book, because I made some choices, too. Primarily, SUN-KISSED.
The problem is that I never had SUN-KISSED in my publishing schedule for this year. Once the idea grew, though, and I wrote the first scene, I really fell in love with that story and that couple. I got caught in it, and just had to write it, and that ended up leaving me several months behind my expected schedule on ONCE UPON A ROSE. (Which I had promised to people for August. There’s an article out this month in RT Magazine for example, which they ran specifically this edition to time it with the promised release of ONCE UPON A ROSE.)
I am extremely proud of SUN-KISSED–I love that couple so much, and it’s a book that makes me very happy–but I want to be extremely proud of ONCE UPON A ROSE, too. So it needs some more time, and not to be rushed because SUN-KISSED stole all its time.
So I am very, very sorry, as I know people will be disappointed, and I know I have not fulfilled what I said I would do. But I do hope you were glad to have SUN-KISSED. I really loved writing it.
That all said, SUN-KISSED having shouldered the blame and all, a dozen books in two years is a LOT for someone who also teaches full time at a pretty demanding university and has a family she wants to value, too. It means a lot of nights working from my daughter’s bedtime until 11 pm and waking up again at 4 or 5 am and a lot of weekends where one parent or the other juggles while the other works. So there might need to be some re-balancing going forward, to keep from burning out.
It’s fairly common these days for people to ask me, “So when are you going to quit teaching and write full-time?” And, yes, it’s true–I could. The books are doing “well enough” and my own husband’s job is so transportable that yes, we could go live in Provence or something and work from there. (I know. You’re saying, “She’s crazy. Provence full time? And she’s not doing that?”)
The thing is: being a lecturer at Duke is never something I’ve thought of as a stopgap until I can “make it” doing something else, like writing. It is an honor and, to me, a major life accomplishment. I love doing it and consider myself extremely fortunate every morning I walk onto campus. (Unless it’s freezing rain on me as I walk and I have some difficult student issue to deal with that day, but you know what I mean. Most days are very good days.)
I ALSO am extraordinarily honored at the reception of these stories. I consider that, too, a major life accomplishment. I am exceptionally fortunate and can only, again, thank all of you who have opened your heart to these stories.
So I want both. They balance each other out, the extroversion and involvement with others that come with teaching and the introversion and quiet time that are essential to writing. I would probably turn into a complete nutcase, if I spent all my time writing and then, in my spare time, flinching away from the internet. (It’s a beautiful thing, the internet. It’s opened up some wonderful doors for me, and I’ve made a lot of friends on it. But it can also lead to some extremely unhealthy behaviors and interactions.) It’s very good to have a balance.
I also value enormously the intellectual stimulation of a major university and of the colleagues I have there. It’s truly a pure joy to just talk to colleagues there, about any idea in the world, and have their brains engage with mine. Do I have a question about anything? I might have a world expert on the subject just across the Quad.
And when Katie Dubois (Katharine Ashe) and I started talking to different programs about doing a course on romance novels, for example–something really totally outside the normal purview of most of my colleagues–it was just amazing how so many people threw themselves into the creativity of it, and how all the ideas they have been throwing out have fed into ours in this incredible brainstorming that can occur in this kind of milieu. Or, to give another example, I love attending a talk on interculturalism and trying to sneak a cookie at the end only to have a colleague grab me to introduce me to someone else who is doing work on the architectural concept of subnature and applying it to food. (“Oh, you should talk to Laura. She’s kind of our chocolate expert.” Ha, ha, talk about a fun field of expertise. ) And yes there are some exciting possibilities for his project with subnature and chocolate. (Also with subnature and perfume, in fact.) Or another day, I might find myself going out for hot chocolate with a world-famous behavioral economics expert who wants to brainstorm ideas for experiments on what food choices show about human behavior.
It’s FUN. It’s exciting.
And so is writing fun and exciting. And powerful and rich and deep. And…FUN. And some of the opportunities in writing have been equally amazing. To book tour in Italy, for my first book? I mean, who gets to do that? That is crazily wonderful. And yet it happened. To find some of my own most-admired authors talking about my books and saying wonderful things about them? Oh…wow. That is just…what words do you have for that, beyond wow? To have so many of you write to me or just talk about the books with others and share them? That’s amazing.
YES, I want to keep writing, too. I have so many more stories trying to force me to find time to put them on the page that it’s what drives me awake at 4 am.
So, you know…I’ll just have to find a balance. It might mean, as I’ve been warning people, that there might be fewer than five new books next year, though.
Don’t kill me! I hope you can understand. And if you can enjoy the previous 11 (or 12 if you count that memoir, BLAME IT ON PARIS, although, ahem, I hear the twenty-six-year-old narrator is annoying ), then I am thrilled.
Again, all my apologies for the delay and all my thanks for all the wonderful support these past two years and for the enthusiasm for this next book. It’s meant a lot. I’m really, really sorry, and I also really, really appreciate and am humbled by the fact that people could be wanting to read it at all.
And now, back to work on the edits for ONCE UPON A ROSE.