The scene might be the same in any house mid-week, early evening.
Your partner is rushing to make dinner, still in his/her office clothes. Ten- year-old son is irritable, primarily because he prefers to play wall ball than eat his lunch at um … lunch break. He has even pointed out that the First Lady wants him to exercise more (you just lost my vote in 2020 Ms. Obama! Tell him to eat that sandwich we made him). Older son is drowning in homework and needs help. Unfortunately it is not math where he ends up explaining it to a perplexed calculator-wielding father – it is English and father is the fastest typist in the house.
From within this maelstrom, hassled wife turns around from steaming cooking pots and sees an unset, messy dinner table, a swivel chair, and a writer’s desk. The writer, sitting in said chair, is distinctly facing the wrong direction, pounding his keyboard with a vengeance.
Suddenly, she can’t help herself. Forgetting the wooden spoon in her hand (writers notice these details especially when the spoon is being flailed in writer’s direction), she towers over the writer, hands on hips:
“You’re writing? Now? Man, you are just possessed!”
When my extremely patient and understanding wife says something like this, it does makes you wonder.
The problem is that after a stressful few months, I had a week off over the Christmas break, and kind angels put up our family in beautiful, snowbound Tahoe, 10,000 feet high in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Already on crutches from a knee operation, I was never going to cut the crisp, fresh snow on virgin slopes (I don’t even when not on crutches – at best I tumble down a 100 feet nursery slope, make sure there are photos, and then slink off for laced hot chocolate).
But here, if only for a few days, I couldn’t help myself. The laptop comes on and a few snow-bound scenes of a new book somehow appear.
Possessed? Moi? Five months and 103.000 words later, despite an intense period at work and many other obligations, I type the final period, click the save command, and stare at the epilogue. Rough first draft of Wycaan Master Book 4 is completed.
Written mainly between 7.30-8.30 am and after the boys go to bed on weekdays, and a couple of hours on the weekend, or random pieces written during odd times. Waiting at the dentist, on the mass-transit BART commuting home, in San Francisco, Washington DC, Ventura, St. Louis, San Diego, and at too many airports.
Possessed? Nah. Possessed would be finishing Book 4 and starting to write scenes of Book 5. Possessed. Out-of-control. Crazy.
I just wrote a few pages, mainly plot threads that I want to develop, characters that need to grow and confront their pasts. There is a bit of world-building with oceans and…
Starting Book Five might just be considered grounds for divorce, need to involve Family and Children Services, or a good psychologist (preferably one who is as much a fan of Tolkien as of Freud).
Starting Book Five? “Now? Man, you are just possessed!”
Alon Shalev writes social justice-themed novels and YA epic fantasy. He swears there is a connection. His latest books include: Unwanted Heroes and the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award for YA – At The Walls Of Galbrieth. Alon tweets at @alonshalevsf and @elfwriter. For more about the author, check out his website.