I caught up with myself earlier today at the hospital while picking up a friend. Here’s what I had to say:
Q. Hi. Long time, no see. What have you been up to?
A. Oh, you know. Busy, busy, busy.
Q. Actually, I’m serious. You haven’t written anything here since God was a little girl.
A. I think it was the end of September. It’s not that long ago when you don’t have anything to say.
Q. You’re a writer. An author. Would it kill you to share a few words with your followers?
A. No, of course not. Writing is a very high priority for me, but last year, especially from the summer on, a couple things in life intruded. But we’re good now. I’m writing again, blah, blah, blah.
Q. Great. What are you writing?
A. It’s going to be book three of the Black Orchid Chronicles.
Q. So Sebastian Arnett is coming back to battle that demon?
A. Yes. Sebastian is back. Empaya Iba, the Bornean spider demon, is back; some might say the demon is back with a vengeance.
Q. That sounds ominous.
A. Well, there’s a lot going on in this book —
Q. Excuse me. Do you have a title yet?
A. Yes. The working title is Spider’s Bite, following up on The Mark of the Spider and Beware the Spider.
Q. Spider’s Bite. Okay, I’ll make a note that that’s a possessive not a plural.
A. Yes. Spider’s possessive. … Now there’s a lot going on in Spider’s Bite. You’ve got drug connections, Polynesian gangs, unhappy FBI agents, a disgruntled bodyguard.
Q. Sounds like a lot.
A. Yes, it does. But the conflict between Sebastian and the demon takes on an even more personal dimension than in the earlier books.
Q. Does that mean either Sebastian or Empaya Iba dies?
A. I suppose it could, but not necessarily.
Q. Don’t you know?
A. I have an idea but I’m a long way from the ending.
Q. But you know how it ends, right?
A. More or less. Some people die; others don’t. There are a few details to work out.
Q. Just how much of this new book have you written?
A. My manuscripts run about 450 pages, double-spaced. I’m at about 286 pages, but I know that I’ll dump most of that.
Q. Why would you throw material out that you’ve done already?
A. Truth be told, I wrote the original draft three or more years ago. I’ve learned quite a bit in that time, and I’ve found that most of it has to be reworked.
Q. When you say most, what do you mean?
A. Here’s a screen capture from one page of the first chapter. Notice how much is new.
Q. All of the red stuff is new.
Q. So, how long is this going to take? I mean, when can we expect to see a new Black Orchid Chronicle?
A. Certainly before the end of year. Very likely sooner. 2020 is a real possibility.
Q. That’s not very definitive.
A. No, it’s not. But check back any time.
Q. So you’re planning updates?
A. Not so much, but you can check back any time.