I’m asked some form of that question many times each week. “Are you writing a new book?” If I say yes, because, of course, the answer is always yes, the next question is, “What is it about?” Therein lies my problem. Unlike many authors who will gladly discuss their works in progress, I don’t like to talk about mine until they’re done. More than that, I don’t want to discuss a book until it’s sold and in an editor’s hands.
It has always been difficult for me to share my unfinished work. In the early years, before I was publishing regularly, I joined a critique group – and dropped out after only a few months. I enjoyed hearing what the other members had written, and I felt I was a reasonably good critic, but it was painful for me to share my own writing while I was still working on it. Since there was no point in sharing it after I was done, I decided to forego the group sessions and spend that morning each week writing.
Most writers do belong to groups, and they benefit mightily from the input of their peers, but I am not comfortable in that situation. It never bothers me to have editorial feedback, and I’m happy to revise when suggestions make sense to me, which is most of the time, but group sessions are not for me.
When I’m asked what I’m working on now, my response is generally to state the title of the book that will be published next. It’s sure to be new to the reader who asked, since it isn’t out yet, and it saves me from giving information that I am not ready to share.
If I tell young readers the title of the next book, they invariably ask, “What’s it about?” One begged me to send her “just a few pages.”
For those who are curious, my next book will be published in November by Dutton. The title is Stolen Children, and if you want to know what it’s about, you’ll have to wait and read it yourself.