After a hectic spring and summer at Blue Mouse Monkey, projects are wrapping up and my workload is decreasing. And I’m loving it. All of a sudden I have time for family and friends. I have time to just poke around the web, or stroll around outside. And time to get working on my second novel.
Okay, there I said it. Yes, I am working on a second novel. The first one, which took me 10+ years to write, is in the process of being queried to agents. Many readers tell me it’s an important story that needs to get out there, and I do hope it finds its way in the wider world. Learn more about Parts Per Million here. This second novel won’t take me 10 years. This time I’m starting with plot and moving towards crafting sentences, instead of the other way around. And its going to be more of a literary thriller. Parts Per Million has some thrillerish aspects of uncovering secrets and facing dangerous repercussions, but I wouldn’t call it a bumper-to-bumper thriller.
The new novel is going to be about a rogue biohacker. I’ve started research (which means amassing folders of related articles Thank you New Scientist) and am sketching out plot. I’m also working on making my rogue protagonist sympathetic. You’re going to be on her side, even while she wreaks havoc, because, well… I don’t want to give it all away!
And as the summer closes there’s time for pickling cucumbers and steaming home-grown edamame, and drawing on rocks with a 15 lb yellow-orange crayon. We were at Crescent Beach last weekend, and at the patch of basalt scree at the far end of the beach I discovered a rock, a piece of sandstone perhaps, that had oxidized (or something – I have no idea what I’m talking about, really) and was coated in a 1/2 inch layer of soft, crayony bright yellow…stuff.
Basalt, which Oregon is full of due to the massive basalt floods of 17–14 million years ago, is dark gray. Rather a somber stone, and not particularly inviting. But when columnar basalt breaks off it does so with smooth, slightly curved planes. Nice to draw on. I had fun brightening up the jumble of gray at the end of the beach.
And now that the anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis has passed, I’m ready to put that difficult year behind me. When my GP broke the news to me last July, she said, “This will dominate your life for a year.” And she was right. And now I’m better, stronger, healthier, and so happy to find a soft yellow rock to draw with.