When I first started writing books, I was still in the insurance business. After sales campaigns, there was always a celebration of some kind—usually a banquet—where the top sales agents would be honored. As a writer it made sense to apply the same rule to finishing books, and my kids soon adjusted to the idea that, once I finished a manuscript, we’d have a dinner out. Since this was something they liked, they started asking about when it would happen. In a variation of that familiar traveler’s lament, “Are we there yet?” they would say, “Are you almost finished?”
In writing books the first 20% is the hardest; the middle 50% is moderately better; the last 30% is usually dead simple. That’s the part where, whether you’re the reader or the writer, you want to keep going until the end. I call that last part of the book the banana peel. Whenever I answered their question with “I’m on the banana peel,” they knew our celebratory dinner was near at hand. Eventually the question morphed into, “Are you on the banana peel yet?”
Years passed. My daughter was a senior at Newport High School in Bellevue, Washington, when a food fight broke out. She came home that day and told me, “Mom, you’ll never guess what happened. There was a banana peel in the hallway. Someone stepped on it, and down they went. Now I know what you meant.”
Alas, I thought they knew all along. I was just stuck on my side of the generation gap. So the above is my keeping a promise to blog readers about why last week’s blog was short but brief. I was on the banana peel of the next Ali Reynolds book, Duel to the Death. But this note needs to be a double-edged sword, so here goes.
I used to be one of those early-bird Christmas people—get everything wound up early. That has changed. Being on a banana peel and doing Christmas shopping are counter indicated. I suspect that I’m not the only one who will be out doing last minute shopping, but I have some good news for those who do. Man Overboard, Ali # 12 goes on sale in paperback on December 19—making it the perfect stocking stuffer for my DTRs—Dead Tree Readers.
And so, while I’m wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I’m also thinking good thoughts to those of my friends and fans who are in harm’s way and staring down the barrel of those Santa Ana wind-fueled fires in Southern California. Stay SAFE!