Before I came to YA writing, I had over 30 short stories published in magazines all over the world. I also had 11 unpublished novels.
All adult novels. A couple had some serious interest from agents and publishers but as time passed, for one reason or another, nothing came from them.
I love writing YA and moving forward I can see this will always be my main thrust. But through certain situations, I have either received funds to complete non-YA projects, or, have an idea that has been burning too brightly for too long to leave alone.
So, if anyone is interested in how I spend all this time alone, here's a run-down of what I have done and NEED TO FINISH in 2014.
Adult Literary: I received an Ottawa Arts Grant in 2012 to write a novel about a screenwriter who returns to Ottawa from Hollywood with his tail between his legs. He's a man absolutely lost, angry, frustrated, and feeling entirely wronged by his exile. In Ottawa, he discovers an old girlfriend who has a 13 year old son she claims is his. This is where we start. I've been working on this book on and off ever since and it is finally taking shape.
ADULT MYSTERY: I've had this idea for ages. A Private Investigator in Northern New York who works exclusively with missing kid cases, dead beat parents, abductions, &c. When a woman comes to Private Investigator Elliott Byrne asking him to follow her husband around one day because she suspects he is going to abduct their son, Byrne jumps at the opportunity to stop something horrible before it happens.
But, everything is not as it first appears and soon enough Byrne has no idea where he stands, or what he's doing.
I finished this last week. By 'finished', I mean, finished a first draft. A very rough first draft. This one will sit until the new year when I'll go at a second write.
MIDDLE GRADE: I'm working on this one now! It's WWII and U-boats are moving up and down the St. Lawrence. Young Sea Cadets work as signalers on freighters and warships defending Canada at home. When one of these freighters is sunk, 15 year old Kenneth Austin finds himself on Anticosti Island, tracking a German soldier who seems to have taken one of the other signalers hostage. I received an Ontario Arts grant for this one and the whole family went to Anticosti Island this past summer on my research trip. It's amazing to be 'back' on Anticosti every morning while I work on this. The island is a very unique place and as I move Ken through it, little bits come back to me. I intend to have a good first write of this done before the New Year.
YA: I know, I write YA. But this one is in third person! Unheard of! Three teens find their lives changed forever out on the frozen St. Lawrence. I'll leave it at that. A first write is done, a second (and likely third) extremely necessary.
As I am finishing up multiple books, I have decided I won't do this again. I get so distracted, though. I also find I use multiple projects as a way to battle any kind of block or difficulty I might find. But, then, eventually, everything I'm working on runs into difficulties and all I have is four or five half finished projects. The fact that I have completed first writes of a number of these books is a miracle. Now it's a matter of re-writing, re-writing, re-writing, and finding homes for all of them. Luckily, re-writing and editing is 'easier' than first writes because there is something to work with and you don't have to grab ideas out of thin air.
Until then, did I tell you about these new projects? Well there's this one about a young Opera singer, and one about brothers who do a horrible thing and then their children must pay the price and another about a group of travelling musicians who ride into what seems to be an abandoned town on the back of large cats, and....