Last March I headed to the spa with Nora and JoAnne, ready for a quiet week of work, painting, puzzles and reading. Always reading.
People ask me regularly if I read Nora’s books while she’s writing them.
I’m on the left.
Nora writes alone, finishes alone, then sends the manuscript to her editor and agent. I knew this process going in 18 years ago. You don’t meddle with success.
However, over the years, on more than one occasion the publicity team asked me what I thought about quotes from an upcoming book — one I hadn’t read. So I did request to be part of the second tier of readers after the first editing pass.
Readers, I had Inheritance on my Kindle as we drove to the spa.
The week was March-y in that Laurel Highlands way — blustery, calm, sunny, overcast, freezing precip and then sudden dry over the course of a day. We came and went from the suite. I hit the gym, Nora and Jo did their ensuite workouts. We painted flowers in the art studio, did some puzzles. A good, relaxing week.
Then came that fateful day — Saturday, March 11.
A blustery, freezing precip kind of day, one that lent itself to just snuggling in. I’d sampled Inheritance a bit over the week, but this was a dedicated-to-reading kind of afternoon.
There I was, sipping a glass of Veuve, propped up by pillows on the couch, reading away. Time went by at a pleasant clip.
I really liked Sonya and Cleo, the music, the dogs, Trey and Owen, the town…I began to read faster. Then faster. I was gripped with a sense of urgency and when I glanced down at Time Remaining in Book — 20 minutes…14 minutes…6 minutes…the dread set in.
No! Wait! Really????
Yes, my hair looked that good after lying about on a couch.
I finished it.
Then my friends, I slapped my kindle shut with great emphasis and looked directly at the creator and said, “What the fuck????”
With a dazed look, Nora pulled herself up from the depths of her John Sandford novel, shook her head and said, “What?”
“Inheritance ends like that???” I demanded my voice pitching higher with each word.
“Well that was the right place to stop. Leslie liked it.” Then she kind of smiled, pleased with my reaction.
(This meant I had to text WTF to Nora’s editor next. And she, too, was pleased I liked the book.)
Now, dear readers, please keep in mind I’m pretty able to move on after finishing a book or a movie, but this was in the moment.
As a side note, have you ever read the science on reaction? According to Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, author of A Stroke of Insight, “When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90-second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.”
A random aside I know, but it explains why I can move along — entertainment wise.
So I stomped around a bit, then remembered four decades of absolute trust in Nora to deliver a wonderful second book, and calmed down. All was good. (I did plan pick up some knitting to deal with the book hangover.)
Except then it hit me: “Do you realize what this will mean in terms of reader response at the end of November???” Delivered in a much higher pitch.
Again my hair looked this good on a lazy Saturday in March. <g>
I needed to stomp it off again. Then settle in — crankily — for the 8.5 months until release day. Remember: I may read things early, but I still have the exact amount of time to wait as you do.
And you all delivered the reactions well. WTF???
But I’m not writing this post to dwell on our shock. That should pass.
Here’s what’s on my mind: in the heat of the moment, everyone seems to have forgotten that since 2016 Nora’s trilogies are published a year apart. We’ll get part 2 (which is titled The Mirror, no descriptions yet) in November 2024.
And the finale in November 2025.
We have to tuck our inner Veruca Salts away and be patient. And once you’ve gone through the 90 seconds of emotional reaction, you’ll see that we’re lucky readers overall.
If you read Nora and JD, there are four new books coming your way in 2024. If you only read Nora, there’s a summer read (the twisty, fascinating Mind Games in May) and The Mirror. Two books in a year is generous, to say the least.
And there are other things you can read/watch starting with Nora’s conversation with Lulu Garcia-Narvarro in the NYT.
In a couple weeks, I’ll share the link to Inheritance’s playlist. (Please note, Nora does NOT listen to music when she writes — the songs were all part of the story.)
The year will pass. And how we choose to fill that year is up to each individual. I’m opting to dance around, read other authors, watch a few movies and be grateful for what’s up ahead.