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Writing historical fiction: sometime journal of a New York City novelist

writing novels

A great deal of writing a novel is discovering its innumerable parts and depths and colors and place and people and moving them around with joy and deep fascination to lay them out in the most compelling way it can be told. Then you slowly reveal it in drafts, paragraph by paragraph, deepening and  Read More 
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and more edits on my Monet novel!

My editor at CROWN was very enthusiastic about my edits and came back with a bunch more so I am still working on this book! Sometimes I think I will be shortlisted for The Most Intensely Revised Novel award... I think when this finally gets published I shall have a great deal of wine,  Read More 
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FINISHED MY EDITS FOR "CAMILLE AND CLAUDE"

I finally sent my edited manuscript to my editor a few days ago. I was stunned for several hours, and kept imagining seeing Claude at 28 taking down my pictures from the walls and hanging up his instead and eating leftovers from my refrigerator (he was always hungry at 28, so I hope he likes cold  Read More 
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revisions on my Monet novel

I am working intensely on my editor's suggested revisions for my novel of the young Claude Monet and his muse/love Camille. I realized I had cut out some rich stuff which I am tucking back in. This is an intense phase to make it as wonderful as it can be. I expect very  Read More 
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weather and writing

I was fortunate to walk by the sea yesterday in the warmer weather, even out on some rocks with the little waves splashing about them. I have been working on two nineteenth century novels now,one set in England and one in France, both with creative women who must learn how to juggle their  Read More 
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wandering beween my novels

I have so many novels partially written, some with whole drafts, others with twenty pages. I feel sometimes each occupies a different room in an old mansion; some rooms have not been visited in years, the furniture is dusty and my voice echoes in them. I go into my mansion  Read More 
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a snowy day in New York City

When I write, I go so deeply into the world of my imagination that sometimes I feel like a pale ghost in this one. You may picture me, a wisp of a woman floating with uncombed hair through the branches of our Christmas tree, making the hanging stars and angels stir slightly as I pass. Snow is falling outside. I need to close my writing file and remember that there are many things to be done in this world before Christmas! Read More 
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living with many research books

It is an overcast, cold day in New York City and I am wondering how I ever got so many research books. I write in many periods and sometimes these are for novels not yet finished. I gave a great many books away so I could see the ones I have which are more than sufficient and still it seems that they have grown to fill the space. I think books follow me home; they slip in when I open the door like a friendly cat and climb on a shelf before I turn around. There could be no other explanation for the number of them.

My new novel "Claude and Camille" was bought by Crown two months ago and many people ask me, "Well, you must be resting now." Not exactly...I manage to spend three or four whole days sometimes doing something in the house besides reading books or listening to music (perhaps chasing the dust balls which also slip in the door when I open it). I am working on two or three new novels, one a story I am finally pulling together after writing it on and off for a very long time. It is enormously exciting to me.

Meanwhile a cup of tea and a research book is calling me. Oh no...I just opened the door and three dust balls and four books rushed in and have settled on the shelves and under the chairs. There is no help for it... Read More 
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