Clea Simon was one of the first authors I thought of when considering who to ask to appear on my blog. I discovered her at the recommendation of author Karen E. Olson last year and have not looked back since. She shares my love for cats and music. What could be better than that?
Please welcome Clea Simon!
Please welcome Clea Simon!
Last night, I heard a scary sound. I was walking home, having parked around the corner, and I heard a rustling. A dry, scratchy sound that made me start and then turn. The street behind me was empty, but a movement down low caught my eye. And I saw leaves. Dead, dried oak leaves, skittering across the pavement in the breeze. The ghosts of schooldays past.
No matter what the calendar says, it's autumn here in New England. Just two weeks ago, I was on the beach in Provincetown; the water is finally warm and swimmable in late August, and I had packed a load of beach reading (really well written historicals were my beach picks this year: D.J. Taylor's "Kept," Barry Unsworth's "The Ruby in Her Navel," Louis Bayard's "The Dark Tower," though I added Barbara Hambly's wonderfully woowoo "Those Who Hunt By Night" after finding it at a used bookstore in Provincetown). But now the weather has changed. If it's not officially fall, it is at least the "back to school" season.
Back to school? I just hit a major college reunion, and I've got no children to send me shopping for new pencils and lunch boxes. But really, isn't that what early September is about? That first bit of bite in the air; the woodsmoke smell of leaves. Time to wake up from our summer languor. Time to put aside the lighter fun reads and dive into nonfiction. Research and background. Because it is time to start new projects.
For me, this year, the seasonal shift is perfect. I finished revisions on my fourth mystery, "Probable Claws," right before vacation. And I used the week after – a sort of extended Labor Day – to clean my office and take care of various freelance pieces. So now I'm ready to get back to work.
But the season can be deceiving and a book takes longer to write than simply a few months. So which project do I want to work on? Does the beginning of the long, cold darkness mean that I should dive back into my more serious WIP, a rock and roll mystery that shuttles between 20 years ago and the present? Or does the crisp air mean I should be spending time with my somewhat brusque pet psychic, the heroine of "Dumb Beasts," a short story that will pub in November? Or should I be digging through the library, looking for new inspiration in musty books – or on long bike rides by the river? As these questions percolate, I have that pleasant nervousness that I remember from the first day of classes. Is my green suede bookbag as cool as I thought it was? Will I like my new heroine ... err, teacher? Will my old friends show up in my books, or my classes. Will I find new ones I love just as much?
Nothing for it, though. The days are marching on, skitttering like those leaves on the pavement. It's time to lay out my clothes, make sure all those pencils are sharpened. I want to take a deep breath of this new, chill air and hold it. To remember all the promise it once held and let it mean the same thing now. Autumn may not be here yet, but it's definitely back to school season. And that means, time to write.
So what does this new season mean for you? Are you switching your reading from chick lit to classics? Taking down the Gothic or the noir for those longer nights ahead? Is anyone else out there starting new projects? And what kind of bookbag do you have this year?
Clea Simon is the author of the Theda Krakow, a cat-loving, freelance writer mystery series. She is also the author of three nonfiction books: Mad House: Growing Up in the Shadow of Mentally Ill Siblings, Fatherless Women: How We Change After We Lose Our Dads and The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats.
You can learn more about the author and her books at her website and on her blog, Cats & Crime & Rock & Roll.