What do you do when you’re not writing?

Once an author begins a new novel or short story, there’s no such thing as “not writing” even when s/he isn’t actually writing. The characters are always present. The need to gather more information is equally present. It’s hard to explain this to people who see me reading online or a paper book (yes, they still exist) and assume I’m taking a break. Nope, doesn’t happen.

My novel in progress is called Pollyanna Hoskins. If you read Thomas-Jacob Publishing’s free anthology, then you saw the first chapter of this novel in my “Smokey Hollow Blues” short story. Before I wrote that short story, I’d been trying to write another novel set in Glacier Park. But, I couldn’t do it. My novels set in the park (there are three of them, I think) were too far back in time for me to just plug into their matrix and start writing about the high country again.

However, I’d already written four novels in my “Florida Folk Magic Series,” so it was easier to step back into that world again. So, I’m writing about north Florida again. And a CIA operative. And the Klan. And a bit of conjure. I grew up in this world, so it’s home–for better or worse. I know it sounds weird, but the stories a writer writes choose him/her rather than the other way around.

I thought I was done writing about the Florida Panhandle. Well, I guess not. As it turns out, an author is never really done writing about anything.

Malcolm

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