The Four Questions

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As a writer, over time you find you are generally asked these questions in order (over and over by different people):

1) What are you working on now?
2) When will it be finished?
3) (After it’s finished.) How is it doing/going (meaning selling)?
4) Sold the movie rights yet? (Asked usually with a laugh, of course.)

I had a Facetime chat yesterday here in England with a friend who had started reading Conventions.

A quick, pensive selfie at the home office desk a little while ago.๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ“ธโœ๏ธ . In case you're interested: My short sleeve shirt: Nautica. My fleece-light jacket (it was chilly hereabouts today): Croft & Barrow, by Kohl's…bought in one of their upstate New York stores. (Maybe in Hudson? I don't remember exactly. Anyway, you've seen it in other photos. I really like it.)๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚ . #selfie #fun #homeoffice #Hertfordshire #England #London #humor #humour #fashion #mensfashion #fashionblogger #writing #history #travel #tourism #expats #Catskills #upstatenewyork #authors #writers #fiction #novelists #novels #socialmedia #authorsofinstagram #writersofinstagram #writinglife #photos #photography

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“How is it going?” she asked.

As you see, she opened on question Number Three. But we had pretty much already covered Numbers One and Two previously. So that was no surprise to me.

It’s been out only a few weeks, I replied. Not bad all things considered. I added, though, that I did not expect this to attract the readership of the first three books.

She asked me why I thought that?

I said I had always known it was a change for me. It’s similar, of course, in some ways to my earlier books because, well, I wrote it. But even if it’s meant to be “costume drama” and about people, it’s also unavoidably a bit of “history.” Unfortunately, I laughed, some potential readers may think there’s an exam at the end…but there isn’t one!

I explained also that she’d probably noticed I had sought to write it consistent with its era. No one ever even once says in the entire book, “Okay,” or “Dude,” or “Dope.” Even the narrative is deliberately somewhat “old-fashioned” so readers aren’t jolted into modernity after just reading “1780s” dialogue. I said I knew while I was writing it that this story being set 200 years ago may make it seem “too distant” to some people.

Royal Crescent, Bath, 2014.

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“The cover makes its look a bit like Austen,” she observed as she waved the paperback at me.

Again, that was planned, I said. But, I added, believe me Jane never wrote anything approaching some of what’s in there. You’ll find out, I laughed.

It’s a small market for new fiction like this, I noted, too. In the end, though, I decided simply to put any doubts aside, put my head down, smash it through the creative figurative wall, write the novel and make my “artistic statement.” I can die now, I chuckled. It was a book my uncle had more than once said I should write – and I’m sure that was a personal motivator as well. As I wrote, sometimes I imagined what he would think. I said also that I know every writer always asserts that their latest book is their best book, but in this case I do honestly believe that.

“Well, they’ll just have to see the film.”

And we got there. Number Four: the film reference.๐Ÿ˜‚

Have a good day, wherever you are.๐Ÿ˜€

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