I first began working on the novel that is now The Sojourn thirteen years ago when I was a senior in college. (That sentence makes me want to go take a nap). Many, many other things happened in my writing life and actual life between now and then, of course, but the novel was always with me: as I wrote other novels, as I moved across the country and back again, loved, lost, tried several times to get published. These characters had staying power. Many of the details—probably a majority of them—have changed over the years, but Brooke, Sophie, and Alex have remained the book’s beating heart.
Now I’m in the process of reviewing first pass pages. The book is laid out as it will look on the page—seeing the words like this feels something like what I imagine seeing one’s daughter in a wedding dress would. My baby, all grown up.
First pass pages are my last real opportunity to make changes before my novel goes out into the world in March, and in galley form before that. Many very talented people have helped the book get to this point—my mentor Pat Geary (perhaps the only other person who has read every previous incarnation of the novel) my GFP editor, Amara, my agent, Carly, my Atria editor, Sarah, the copyeditor, etc. (Can you tell I’m working on my acknowledgements?). Now is the time for final touches, and then it’s done. Then I enter into that bargain with readers—critics included—that the book now belongs to them, belongs to the world. Brooke and Sophie and Alex will have to speak for themselves.
We all have to grow up someday.