Privilege Blog

On The Enormous Delight Of Finishing A Novel, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:40am

One morning this week, it might have been Wednesday at 10:30, or maybe 10:37, I closed my computer, took it off my lap, lay it on the sofa right next me so I didn’t have to move and said, out loud, to no one, “I’m done.”

Backstory: as many of you may remember, I’ve been writing fiction for about 5 years. It was your fault. Let me now self-appreciate. You kept encouraging me to write a book, saying very kind things about my prose. I succumbed. Let me know acknowledge my contrary being. You wanted non-fiction about my High WASP background. I tried! I did! Sort of. I wrote one book proposal and sent it to one agent. She said she didn’t get it. I gave up.

I gave up because I’ve written those family stories and spoken in that family voice here. (It was my Aunt Priscilla, BTW) Our history was fully unexcavated and mute to boot, not even calling to us from behind the stones, but now I’ve said a LOT.

So, although I might tell another WASPy story some day (have I already recounted the time we rented a villa in the new vacation area called Cancun, and wound up frozen around the dining table by both terror and my father’s embarrassment, eating fried pork chops as a 3-person mariachi band played and sang to us from 4 feet away?), I don’t feel compelled to write a full book about High WASP-hood.

Et alors, fiction. For those stories I didn’t know I wanted to tell. And was wholly unequipped to write! This week I finished a final edit on my second novel. The first novel, as they say, was practice. My goodness I’ve learned a lot. Did you know that writing stories is not the same as reading them? Surprise!

What I’ve just finished is the story of a woman in her 50s whose husband has died of Alzheimer’s. She’s more in need of love and friendship than she knows, and when she has to take a retail job at the mall, she meets an odd (but unforgivably handsome of course) Slavic millionaire along with a witty, sharp-tongued young woman, and then navigate the conflicts of those relationships (and her guilty secret…) to happiness. I will look for a way into traditional publishing, but no matter the outcome I’ll make sure you can read it if you like. Because, as I said, it was your fault. To your credit. Thank you very much.

And guess what? I’m not the only one writing books! Some of you are probably writing one as we speak and others have probably written one or more! Which is a segue into news from two of my published friends. Book writing is so solitary and yet such a community. Feel free to add yours in the comments below.

First, the final book in Kerry Chaput’s Defying the Crown trilogy, Daughter of Snow and Secrets, will be available on Amazon March 21st. Action-oriented, female main character, set in the 17th century at court, in Versailles. Kerry pulls no punches, nor does her heroine, Isabelle. Kerry does her research for all the historical details, and she’s gotten me through the writing of my own novel. Lesson: friends.

Second, Marchelle Farrell’s book, Uprooting, has arrived in America! I was thrilled to see it featured on the Gardening shelves of my local independent bookstore.

As I’ve said before, not to be missed. Many of us in this country know less than we might about world history, and Marchelle shines a beautifully poetic light on her personal story, the history of Britain in the Caribbean, and the joys of her English garden.

tl;dr: it feels amazing to finish a book. Highly recommend.

Now, starting one? That’s something I don’t need to mention, because those of us who do it cannot help ourselves.

Have a wonderful weekend. Feel free to also recommend books, and read on.




28 Responses

  1. Congratulations – it’s quite an accomplishment!! I’m very much looking forward to reading it.

  2. Congratulations! Your book sounds smart, sweet, and engaging. So looking forward to it!

  3. Congratulations, Lisa. Well done, you! How many times over the years have I heard or read how someone has “a book in them?” And I want to say, I’m sure most of us have a story worth telling… but that is NOT the same as sitting down and writing the darned thing. I am in awe of anyone who can do this. And a teensy bit jealous at the same time. Can’t wait to read it.

    1. So much this. You can have a book in you, but how to get it out!!! Requires not only discipline, but skills I didn’t even know existed. I hesitate to say this, but I bet you could finish a book if it felt like something you in fact wanted to do, and I bet I would enjoy reading it;)

    1. Thank you, K. As you know, I’m OK at setting goals and finishing them by sheer endurance and persistence. The new thing for me here has been bowing my head and learning new skills. A LOT of them, in a field I would have thought I knew.

  4. Chapeau! Well done! Can’t wait to read it. I am in awe of anyone who can write a book, especially a novel.

  5. Wow, congratulations! I look forward to reading it whenever it becomes available to the outside world.

  6. Congratulations! I cannot wait until some on-the-ball agent has the smarts to get behind your book and get its pages between the gorgeous cover it deserves and onto the shelves of a bookstore near me!

    Perhaps the same bookstore which special-ordered Uprooting for me, as soon as you recommended it here (or on IG?) — a wonderful book I’ve just finished reading.

    Happy Weekend! xo

    1. Frances, thank you so much for all your support and inspiration. And for special-ordering Uprooting, a book that truly needs a wide audience.

  7. Wow!!! Wonderful news! Revel in this accomplishment! I am an essayist and poet. No idea how to write fiction so I am truly in awe of those who can create in that genre.

    1. I have reveled! And an essayist and a poet? I am even more truly in awe of that. Poetry eludes me like a magic hind in a king’s forest.

  8. Congratulations on achieving the challenge of writing a book, a challenge that seems enormous to me.

    Possibly the best book I ever read is PEOPLE OF THE BOOK by Geraldine Brooks. Am enjoying her memoir, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENCE. Did not enjoy her THE SECRET CHORD but am looking forward to exploring everything else she has written.

    1. I have read one of her novels, and I only wish I could remember which! I’ll try People Of The Book. Thank you for the recommendation.

    1. Thank you! I bought both of yours, and wound up thwarted by formatting, which is probably silly of me. I didn’t want to complain, but I do wish I’d read them. They sit by my bed still. I should give it another time.

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