Endings, and Beginnings
I typed the final chapter of The Bones of Paris yesterday afternoon with my grandson chuntering around at my knee, no doubt contributing his own influence to the words. I say “typed” rather than “wrote” because I actually finished the book ten days ago, but had a preliminary rewrite to do before I could send it off. I knew what the final chapter would be, and saved it to type as a coda after the rewrite. When I finished that yesterday, I typed it out.
Done. But not finished. I’ll send it to my editor this weekend, and spend the next week slashing my way through the huge pile of household tasks that have been breathing down my neck since forever: sewing new cushions for a sofa, turning narrow curtains into wide ones, hanging a few dozen more pictures on the wall, arranging the deck and patio for actual use, now that the ladders and saws have retreated indoors. Oh, and isn’t Thanksgiving coming up sometime?
But you’re not interested in the house or the family. You want to know about the book.
It’s a sequel to Touchstone, a story that was set in 1926 England during a General Strike that crippled the country and brought a threat of Communist takeover, to many minds, and a far more real threat of a backlash rise of Fascism. My original version of Touchstone had most of the characters, er, failing to make it past the end, which made it rather firmly a standalone novel. I re-thought that decision, waving my authorial wand to bring most of them back to life, but by that time, the idea of it being a one-off was kind of set, in my mind and in my editor’s. By the time I raised the possibility of a series–Hey, there’s enough left to build another one!–we were already headed in a non-series direction.
But I liked the surviving characters, and liked the idea of doing a small series set at interesting points during the years between the Wars. Following four Russell novels, now’s the time.
Paris, 1929. Hemingway swaggers, Man Ray transforms photography, Josephine Baker struts her stuff, and Americans pour into Montparnasse, fueled by a hugely generous exchange rate and a wish to be in on the action. The City of Light has never shone so bright.
But brilliant lights cast dark shadows, and the bones of Paris are stirring…
I’ve had a grand time writing Harris Stuyvesant again. Stuyvesant is a big-fisted ex-Bureau man who’s been bumming around Europe doing odd jobs for odder people, when a letter comes asking him to find an American girl named Pip Crosby. Who appears to have stepped into those Paris shadows.
Watch for The Bones of Paris next September. I think you’ll really like it.