I leave first thing in the morning tomorrow for my friend’s ranch in northern California. As seen above, there are goats, which I will be herding and milking in exchange for my room and board. I’ll be living in a grounded boat on the property with no internet connection and very little phone service, if any.
The perfect place to write.
My friend Carin was the one who unofficially dubbed it my “vision quest,” which of course has now become the official title, as there can be no other. I will be putting my middle-grade novel, Gryphon, to rest in the first couple of days; after that I will be dividing my time between rewriting The Aeronauts and starting a new book tentatively titled Left-handed Jill. I’m downloading a number of good cowboy movies before I take off.
Speaking of which: I have never experienced a Twitter storm like yesterday, when I asked the Twitterverse at large the following question:
I am going to watch so many westerns this month prepping for the new book. Any recommendations (BESIDES Unforgiven)?
To which I received something on the order of 50 replies, and now I have a very robust list to work with that includes the TV series Deadwood, many mentions of “The Assassination of Jesse James,” “3:10 to Yuma,” among others. Still surprised no one mentioned “Cannibal: The Musical,” though.
My boyfriend collected Louis L’amour books when he was younger, so in addition to my western movie and TV-show binge, I’ll be devouring some dime novels to get a feel for the tone and time period of the new book, Left-handed Jill. This is my first time writing a historical novel; while it will be more of a comedy than a genuine historical fiction, I’m going to attempt a degree of authenticity that is totally new to me. Just the idea of the challenge gets me all riled up.
So, starting at 9 a.m. PST tomorrow, I will be on the road, praying that I don’t run into snow and sucking down peanuts, dried fruit and beef jerky while I listen to Stephenie Meyer’s The Host (that’s right, I’m going there–I figure I don’t need great literature on a road trip, just something to entertain me, and this is almost part of the YA curriculum now). If you have any suggestions for good audiobooks to listen to on my way home, I’m all ears.
To finish this out, and to get all jazzed-up for the weeks ahead, here’s a working tag-line for the new cowboy book:
Left-handed Jill, the meanest shot in the West. And that’s not even her real name.
Oh, also: BABY CHICKENS!