Monday, August 9, 2010

A New Novel

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Strike while the iron is hot. It’s cliché, but true. When inspiration strikes it rarely chooses a convenient moment or consults your current schedule. I’m enthusiastic as ever about promoting my civil war novel, The Long Defeat, and continue to pitch it to agents as well as consider ways to continue to rewrite and improve the manuscript. Nevertheless, I find myself already writing a new novel and am somewhat unable to stop myself. I’ve heard other writer’s at conferences talk about always having one book nearly finished and another on the way, so I hope this flurry of writing I’m involved in now is what they were talking about.

I’m about five chapters into a new novel, which my wife (who provides a healthy mix of encouragement and literary criticism) has refused to let me stop until I finish this story. It’s still a bit rough and I’ve rewritten the first chapters a few times already, but I’ve created an outline and think I can have a decent first draft of this novel finished in the next few months. I don’t even have a hard and fast title yet for my new work, but I’ll give you the gist of it and perhaps later down the line some of you can suggest what you think would be most fitting.

Essentially, this new historical novel revolves around a family of seven children living on the frontier in colonial Virginia. Due to extenuating circumstances, both their mother and father are away when the French and Indian War breaks out. The children soon find themselves isolated on their tiny farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains, cutoff from not only from their parents, but the rest of civilization. These seven siblings, ranging in ages from age 4 to 16 must strive to survive in the wilderness amidst the backdrop of wandering settlers, runaway slaves, and bands of Indians. The two eldest children in particular, Joshua and Sarah, find themselves at odds with one another in their new roles as surrogate father and mother, threatening their family’s well being as much as the poverty and starvation they face. To top it off, unbeknownst to the children, a French officer and his men hunt for the little family on their farm in the wilderness, bearing a personal grudge against them. I’ve set the novel in the year 1756. In the weeks to come, I’ll let you know as soon as I have more of this tale fleshed out and put down on paper. Thanks for reading!