When I started it, Tim the mighty bow-tied one, called and told me he wanted me to dig deep. He wanted emotion. He wanted me to reach into my soul and confront my unspoken pain.
I have tried to convince Tim that I am basically a happy person, and I don’t have all the angst churning around inside me that is so common with writers. This is probably the reason I write romantic comedies instead of Sylvia Plath-like stories of despair.
Tim doesn’t buy my happiness. “Dig deeper,” he told me. “What is under that layer of happiness?”
“Just more happiness, well unless you catch me when the kids are bickering with each other–then I yell until I hyperventilate, but I don’t think teenagers really want to read about that . . .”
Still I wrote this story determined to take on a hard issue. Annika’s little brother, Jeremy, has cancer and she decides to find and bring home his idol: the actor who plays Robin Hood.
It’s still a funny book in a lot of places but it’s definitely more serious then my other novels.
And the weirdest thing happened while I wrote it. I swear the novel just poured out of my mind and onto the keyboard. I couldn’t stop thinking about it even when I tried. Ideas and images came so fast I could hardly keep up with them. Even after I sent it off this afternoon I kept thinking about things I wanted to add.
I can’t tell you the last time that happened while I wrote. While writing the last few books, it has sometime seemed like I had to wrestle words out of the air and pin them down to the computer screen.
I even cried at several points of the book. This is hard to explain when someone calls you while you’re writing. Like the Boy Scout leader calls to talk about scout camp and I’m gulping out, “Yeah, we’ll make sure to send in all the . . .sniff . . . permission slips.”
See, this is why people think writers are strange.
Anyway, I’ll be interested to hear what Tim’s reaction to the new, apparently less happy me is.
Oh, who am I fooling? I know very well what his reaction will be. He’ll tell me he really likes the story and then he’ll scribble rewrite instructions on every single page.
Why should this book be any different than the rest?