I just finished writing my fourteenth book, and I’m morbidly depressed.
I guess there’s a bit of joy riding along with these emotions (in the backseat). After all, the novel is complete and I had a blast writing it. But mostly I’m just sad, and that’s what always happens when I finish a book.
There’s this cloying melancholy that comes from knowing I won’t see these particular characters again. Maybe forever. And damn, I’ve had such a blast writing this one. I loved being twelve again.
It’s probably partially because I’m able to escape from the lands of Oh God will I ever get a job again and the which school should I apply to conundrum. (Not to mention that my daughter who moved home to help us just lost her job, too, which just feeds the fears.)
I’m really going to miss Tully, the crotchety old hermit with secrets that shocked the townspeople of 1965, and Penni, the spirit of the Indian girl who played pranks in Tully’s cabin and stirred up nature when she was upset. I fell in love with these two, and it’s as if I have to leave my best friends now. Is it silly? Or understandable?
In my series, I bring in “featured” characters for each book. Sometimes they stick around, but usually I just showcase them for one book in addition to the usual “cast” common to all the stories. If I kept all of my “guest” characters, I’d never be able to finish a book, and it would be like milling around a humongous party, trying to remember who everyone is.
No. When the book’s done, they’re pretty much gone.
Of course I go through the withdrawal with thoughts like this, too: Should I do a sequel with Tully and Penni? Make a new series within a series that could stand alone or be part of the ultimate pile of books I intend to put out there?
Man, it’s hard.
I’m also going to miss riding through the woods on Gus LeGarde’s fat and sassy black Morgan gelding, Pancho Villa. That part was incredibly satisfying, because it brought me back to my own childhood, where all my pals had horses and we raced all over the town playing Cowboys and Indians. None of us were rich, we just lived in a rural area where everyone had barns and horses were pretty cheap. What a healthy way to grow up, don’t you think? It taught us responsibility. I lugged water buckets from the house all winter (no running water), mucked out the stall, brushed my horse ‘til he gleamed, helped cut and bring in hay from our field, and made sure he got his shots and horseshoes when he needed them. Sigh. I miss those days.
But I digress. I’m now in that in-between-place that really stinks.
This one’s going out into the world to try to make me some good money. (LOL) I’ve done the query and a draft of the synopsis. I’m rereading it for typos. And I’ve sent out some requests for a new agent. We’ll see what happens. (And a huge public THANK YOU to S.W. Vaughn for helping me in every aspect of this endeavor, including writing a synopsis blurb that doesn't put people to
Meanwhile, I need to make the awful decision of what comes next.
It’s not ‘cause I don’t have any ideas. I have tons of books waiting in my head. It’s because I need to either polish one of the seven books in either of my series that will be subbed to my wonderful publisher next, OR start the new one.
“Start the new one!” my brain screams. My heart is right there along with it. But I know it’s time to tear apart and rewrite those earlier books that need a bit of freshening up before they join their cousins in the series. But it’s so danged boring.
The next new book is going to be a blast, with themes of ancient essential oils being used to cure illnesses and the insanity that arises when modern drug companies are threatened. Oh, there will be some fun excursions into Egyptian deserts, too. ;o) But it will probably all change once I actually write it. It always does.
What do you do when you’re done with a novel? How does it affect you? Are you full of pride? Riddled with fear? Satisfied? Sad?
Let the MB4 community share your feelings in the comments below. And last of all, remember to write like the wind!
Aaron Paul Lazar wasn’t always a mystery writer. It wasn’t until eight members of his family and friends died within five years that the urge to write became overwhelming. “When my father died, I lost it. I needed an outlet, and writing provided the kind of solace I couldn’t find elsewhere.”
Lazar created the Gus LeGarde mystery series, with the founding novel, DOUBLE FORTÉ (2004), a chilling winter mystery set in the Genesee Valley of upstate New York. Like Lazar’s father, protagonist Gus LeGarde is a classical music professor. Gus, a grandfather, gardener, chef, and nature lover, plays Chopin etudes to feed his soul and thinks of himself as a “Renaissance man caught in the 21st century.”
The creation of the series lent Lazar the comfort he sought, yet in the process, a new passion was unleashed. Obsessed with his parallel universe, he now lives, breathes, and dreams about his characters, and has written ten LeGarde mysteries in eight years. (UPSTAGED – 2005; TREMOLO:CRY OF THE LOON – 2007 Twilight Times Books; MAZURKA – 2009 Twilight Times Books, FIRESONG – 2010; with more to come.)
One day while rototilling his gardens, Lazar unearthed a green cat’s eye marble, which prompted the new paranormal mystery series featuring Sam Moore, retired country doctor and zealous gardener. The green marble, a powerful talisman, connects all three of the books in the series, whisking Sam back in time to uncover his brother’s dreadful fate fifty years earlier. (HEALEY’S CAVE: A GREEN MARBLE MYSTERY, 2010; ONE POTATO, BLUE POTATO, 2011; FOR KEEPS, 2012) Lazar intends to continue both series.
Lazar’s books feature breathless chase scenes, nasty villains, and taut suspense, but are also intensely human stories, replete with kids, dogs, horses, food, romance, and humor. The author calls them, “country mysteries,” although reviewers have dubbed them “literary mysteries.”
“It seems as though every image ever impressed upon my brain finds its way into my work. Whether it’s the light dancing through stained-glass windows in a Parisian chapel, curly slate-green lichen covering a boulder at the edge of a pond in Maine, or hoarfrost dangling from a cherry tree branch in mid-winter, these images burrow into my memory cells. In time they bubble back, persistently itching, until they are poured out on the page.”
The author lives on a ridge overlooking the Genesee Valley in upstate New York with his wife, daughter, three grandchildren, mother-in-law, three dogs, and cat. Although recent empty nesters, he and his wife just finished fixing up their 1811 antique home when the kids moved home. Again.
Lazar maintains several websites and blogs, was the Gather Saturday Writing Essential host from 2006-2008, writes his monthly “Seedlings” columns for the Voice in the Dark literary journal and the Future Mystery Anthology Magazine. He has been published in Absolute Write as well as The Great Mystery and Suspense Magazine. See excerpts and reviews here:
Contact him at aaron(dot)lazar(at)yahoo.com.
Aww! You're so very welcome, Aaron! It was a blast - and I'm gonna miss Tully, too! *sniff*
Fingers crossed for those queries!
Thank you, SW! You are my hero!!!
As I watch my team struggle to win a Super Bowl spot
I realize what you mean. Finishing a book is a super Herculean effort and you should be proud. Dontbe depressed! The muse will be ready when you are and it's off on another adventure!!
Aww, thanks, Kim! Actually, since I wrote this yesterday, I've already jumped into one of my earlier works, the third in the Sam Moore "green marble" series. The first is coming out in May, the second next year, and I realized I'd best get this in the queue so it comes out in a timely manner. I'm already having fun remembering what I wrote. Most of it seems "foreign." Ha. Amazing how quickly we forget. It's only been a few years. ;o)
Kim, you DO know that YOUR team may be up against MINE, right? :()
Aaron, I don't know why you worry so. Anyone with 14 books under their belt, has another 14 rolling around in their head! Go for it.
Ha! What is this? Superbowl Sunday? I didn't even know. Goes to show you how much I love sports. LOL.
Kim and Marta, I'm not worried about what to write next, there are a gazillion books rolling around in my head waiting to be birthed, so to speak. It's just the sadness of leaving the characters. That's it, plain and simple. I'll get over it! I always do! Ha.
Colts vs. Vikings ;)
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