New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice explores the complex emotional equations of love and loyalty that hold together three pairs of remarkable sisters, in an unforgettable story of loss, redemption, and forgivenessRead More
this spring i have four publications, including my new hardcover LITTLE NIGHT, and to celebrate, we have redone the website. i'm so thankful to adrian kinloch, photographer and web designer, and andrew duncan, marketing manager at viking, for working so hard and making the site so beautiful (and easy for me to use, so i can share lots of writing, photos, and videos with you.) lindsay prevette, publicity manager at viking/penguin, and meghan fallon, of viking publicity, have been wonderful in providing material for the new site and getting the word out about all our news. ted o'gorman continues to be amazing, both as writer of his own fiction and in keeping my site and facebook running well.
tomorrow, april 17, BLUE MOON will be available as an e-book for the first time ever--the novel was first published in 1993, and was based on a true-life fishing boat incident off the connecticut and rhode island coastlines. the novel has been out in paperback, and was made into a cbs movie of the week, but this is it's e-debut.
THE SILVER BOAT comes out in trade paperback on may 29--the novel is very dear to me, and i must admit i love the cover and its shingled beach house. it's set on martha's vineyard, one of my favorite places, and deals with three sisters visiting their beloved summer cottage for the last time.
HOW WE STARTED is an e-special-- two short stories linked to LITTLE NIGHT and THE SILVER BOAT. the first story, "miss martha's vineyard", visits the characters harrison and rory of the silver boat, back when they were young and trying not to be in love. the second, "paul and clare," is a prequel to little night, and tells about their dreams of love, nature, new york city, and how they're destined to be both so right and so wrong.
i hope you'll enjoy the changes on my website, and i can't wait for you to read these four new releases.
on another, thrilling note, there was a starred review of LITTLE NIGHT in today's publisher's weekly.
i wrote a novel called what matters most, and once again i've been putting a question mark at the end of the title, asking myself the question. i guess you'd say i'm an emotional sort, and i really want to understand what i feel. writing helps me with this. the most wonderful things, the most painful things, all of life touches my heart, and i bring it to my desk. characters come to me, and through them i tell the stories that tear me apart and put me back together. when i was younger i was motivated by need and desire--full-out, pedal to the metal, have to have it kind of thing. believe me, i still have my moments, but now the feelings are tempered by, i hope, some degree of self-awareness. that comes from writing.
my early novels told what i knew as a young woman. as time goes on, and life hands me more experience, they reflect what i have learned--not just factually, but emotionally. shades of marian the librarian in "the music man", sadder-but-wiser-girl that she was. am i saying too much here? i'm in the mood to tell you everything.
last night i took a ride along the coast with a friend. there was moonlight on the sea. lots of new houses had been built in the once-open space. nature is so staggeringly beautiful, and we were saying how sometimes we don't appreciate what we've got till it's gone. at which point i began to sing joni mitchell's big yellow taxi -- i couldn't help myself. "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot..." (poor friend, having to hear me sing.)
you know me well enough to know that seeing habitat destroyed and creatures killed makes me cry. (it really does...i actually hug trees.) but life has many metaphorical parking lots. you can pave over relationships, too. i know, because in the past i've done it. such a human tendency to want resolution--i'm right, you're wrong, i'm bad, you're good. or, maybe you're bad, i'm good. no in between, no grey area, no room for the maybes that come with taking a more compassionate, realistic, look at life. (see above: sadder but wiser.)
i may be falling in love--with the world as it is, not as i would have it. to put it another way, i'm finding it easier to look at what is true than to pretend something else. yesterday someone told me that things happen if they're supposed to--no amount of forcing or denying or hiding will change what is. so why not practice radical acceptance, and lovingkindness for where we are right here, right now?
so what matters to me is love, family, friends, honesty, this broken paradise, moonlight on the sea and knowing it won't last forever but will come back again, gratitude for what i've been given, and the awareness that comes through living life one day at a time.
The Silver Boat feels very alive to me. It's only October, and the novel won't come out until April 2011, but already it's making its way in the world. I'm always amazed at the secret, labyrinthine, enchanted life of a novel, and I thought maybe you would be, too. First it has to be written. That in itself is pure magic and spirit. The initial idea lodges in my heart, I live with it for some time, and soon I find yourself looking for a pen, jotting down the first lines, the character's name, a vision of where she lives, what she sees. Or maybe the idea is big and fully formed enough for me to go straight to the computer, open a new file, and let the story flow.
Living with the novel, listening to the characters, is more privilege and joy than work. To wake up every morning, hit the desk and start up where I'd left off the night before, let my characters lead me deeper, is the best. I'm never happier than when writing.
When I've written the last page, reread the draft, feel it's time to let it go, I send the manuscript to my agent and my publisher. For many years, since my first novel, I've incorporated talismanic elements into the submission; I almost always find a card, or a postcard, that somehow illustrates the essence of my new novel. I still remember the one I used for Crazy in Love: Winslow Homer's Summer Night, a painting of a couple dancing in moonlight on the beach.
The postcard I included with the manuscript Secrets of Paris, was a photograph of a woman writing at a Paris cafe, and actually inspired Viking to use it as the book cover.
Talismanic postcard or not, There are some tense days, waiting for a reaction. When it comes, if it's good, I'm thrilled and ready to dig into the next phase--revision. The first draft is a gift, and revision is really work.
Finally the novel is finished, accepted, and a new round of fun begins. Cover sketches, proofs, choices. Pam, my editor, had a very clear idea for The Silver Boat's cover; I remember sitting in her office when she showed it to me. I loved its simple beauty, luminosity, and the way it drew me in to the novel.
Now the ARCs (advance reading copies) are finished, being sent into the world. Publishing industry people will read it. Peggy, the agent in charge of foreign rights, went to the Frankfurt Book Fair, and showed the cover to foreign publishers, and reported back that they loved it.
Tonight I'll have dinner with a woman from LA who will help publicize the novel. I love all these moments, pre-publication, because I see how each one helps the book come to life. Books are like the Velveteen Rabbit--they have to be read and loved for them to truly be alive.
I have a shelf of much-read and greatly-loved books--my own private Velveteen Rabbits. Actually, The Velveteen Rabbit is one. Honor Moore's The White Blackbird, Alice Hoffman's The Story Sisters, J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey, Laurie Colwin's Happy All the Time, Ann Hood's The Red Thread, Joe Monninger's Eternal on the Water, Katherine Mosby's Twilight (published way before the other Twilight,) Rumor Godden's Little Plum, Marguerite Henry's Misty of Chincoteague, James Joyce's Dubliners, Sylvia Plath's Letters Home, Gretel Ehrlich's The Solace of Open Spaces, Pam Houston's Cowboys are my Weakness, Braided Creek by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser, and so many more: I've read and read them, loved them all, in some cases until they're threadbare.
April seems a long ways away, but I know it will come fast. Actual publication is something else again--exciting, satisfying, and I never tire of walking into a bookstore and seeing my novel on the shelf. But by then I'm usually deeply into a new novel, with a group of new characters, and a whole new life is underway. Another book, another life.
Luanne Rice, author of 29 novels, shares some of the methods that have made her such a successful writer.