Happy Saturday to you. It’s just after 10:30 in the morning for me and I am getting settled in for some quality editing time. As I did in my last post, I’m going to be taking you through the editing process for my latest book, Palm Springs (out June 21st) and I’ll just warn you now that spoilers are likely. There are some spoilers and even a couple excerpts in the last post, so be sure to check that out if you haven’t yet.
Today I’m starting on chapter four, where we find Natalie, James, and Frankie in the car driving to Palm Springs. I’ve thrown in a few personal Easter eggs into this particular book. The first is in chapter four where Natalie bemoans about how quiet the car is and wondering if they keep any music on hand. (Yes I still buy CDs on occasion – though I prefer vinyl – and when I do I keep them in the car so that I always have music I like on hand).
Enter… Cordelia Van Wysen Fitzgerald. The Duchess of Palm Springs.
Back after lunch break… Chapter 5!
“I’ve prepared the pool house for you to stay in if you’d like. As well as a pair of guest rooms at the end of the hall should you prefer to stay in the main house. I did not dare to presume what your personal sleeping arrangements would be.” Cordelia lifted one carefully arched eyebrow in her son’s direction.
“That’s very thoughtful of you, mother.”
“Well, my dear, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The last time you came home it was to tell me you married your lesbian business partner.” This time it was Natalie who Cordelia glanced at over her shoulder. “Why don’t you make yourselves comfortable while I settle some final matters with the caterers? You can meet me out by the pool once you have freshened up from your drive.”
Palm Springs, chapter 5
Like it’s given name, this story is very much a relaxing, poolside read. I really wanted to capture the sort of sleepy summer quality from my youth. That feeling that there are no days, just mornings and nights and long stretches in between where the world was your playground. I wanted to inspire readers to smell sun screen and feel a cool summer breeze on their cheek. The book is steamy but there isn’t as much focus on sex as in previous books. That was a conscious effort on my part. But I do hope you’ll find it sexy.
I’m deep in chapter six right now. More than anything what I hope I’ve captured is a sense that these characters we’ve known for several books now are capable of moving forward in an organic way that is true to their character while also giving them new complexities for new life experiences.
At the start of Contested Heart there is a line about how many signatures there are when Natalie is signing all of the final documents for her first house. It was almost prophetic in a sense since I paused writing that story for a long while, and when I came back to it I actually had bought my first home (which I’m in right now, hello!). So there was this sense of it coming full circle but also having a nice chuckle about how I completely underestimated just how many times you sign your name when you go through the process of buying a house. Especially when you do it through a loan. Oooh.
But this series has always parroted my life in one way or another. I have very much asked myself if there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to pay off my student loans. I published Candidate Four a month before my wedding. I’ve been married now five years. I’m probably really going off on a tangent here but it just amazes me when I step back and see how I’ve interwoven my own life and life experiences into these characters. I can read certain parts of Secret Desires and remember where I was and what I was doing when a place inspired me to include it in the book. Such as the entire bit of storyline that takes place in Lake Arrowhead, right down to Natalie and Joe hanging out on the boat and jumping into the lake.
In many ways, I feel like this series is a scrapbook for the moments of my life I’ve tucked away for safe keeping.
Intermission…. I may be back later after eating dinner. I’m up to Chapter 7.
Good morning and happy Father’s Day! I won’t have much time today to do a lot of editing, so I’m getting in an early start where I can. We have to go get groceries, pick up a gift for my father in law, wash my car if I’m lucky, make a side dish for a BBQ, and then drive to said BBQ this evening for a late-evening celebration.
Another Easter egg in chapter eight… Frankie is explaining that one of her classmates is the daughter to an ambassador. Natalie thinks to herself that the most interesting political connection she had growing up was being in the same class as the mayor’s son. That was true for me in elementary school. Every time I go back to that city (which isn’t rare since I live an hour away) and drive by a particular building it reminds me of that kid and his dad, the mayor. I don’t remember if it’s because that building is where the mayor’s office used to be, or something else entirely.