I spend most of my day in literal truth, helping clients use narrative to solve business and reputation problems. The early morning is fiction time, either a novel or something like a novel.
In November I was in a hotel in the mountains, working in literal truth time, when I decided to put aside the novel I had been writing in the mornings and start something new. It was based on a month of my life, literal truth, when I was a teenager. We all have these moments we obsess over, positive or negative. Mine was positive and negative at once, and meaningful, though I never really considered WHY it was meaningful.
Two months later I was finished a first draft of a short novel I have tentatively titled The Empress of Idaho. It’s different than my crime books, Come Barbarians and the upcoming sequel Son of France, but writing those novels has changed me as a writer.
It’s full of crimes but it isn’t a crime novel.
I wrote it so quickly, in a kind of early-morning dream, that I’m worried my agent will think I am a maniac and a pervert. It’s a wonderful, terrible feeling.