Once upon a time, I was writing a story that I adored. I was obsessed with the characters and their journey, and the words came at me like a firehose. I could not write fast enough.
But then the tire-screeching, edge-of-the-cliff, wind-knocked-out realization hit that I could not possibly build the world that this story required in a single book. Weeks and months passed as I walked in a circle around this issue, trying to chisel away or climb over it, but I couldn't find the solution. I was defeated and flattened against this impasse.
I vividly remember nursing my then-infant daughter while Grey's Anatomy reruns played in the background when I realized it wasn't a single book.
I mentioned last week how I can glance at an old carriage house and instantly hear five pages of Walsh family debate. That's pretty much how to presented themselves to me: all at once, almost fully formed, and impossibly enmeshed and knotted in each other's lives. Immediately, I knew them. I knew their nicknames, their quirks, their problems. I knew that they traded in the preservation of very old, very fragile homes, and that none of them knew what home meant.
And I knew Matt would be first. I didn't know how or what or any of the other details but I knew he was an outsider on the inside, and he was the place to start. To be fair, I wrote all of The Space Between, Patrick's book and the second in the series, first. But that's only because his love interest, Miss Andy Asani, woke me up in the middle of the night shortly after New Years in 2014 to write the first chapter of her book and wouldn't let go until it was finished. She's assertive like that.
Once I finished The Space Between (which was not originally called The Space Between--it was Necessary Restorations until I realized I had it ALL wrong and Sam claimed that title as his own), I traveled back in time to Matt and Lauren.
There's always been something viscerally real to me about the character of Lauren. We meet her at this point time when the earth never stops moving beneath her feet--her college-era friendships are fading away and her career is touch-and-go, she's trying to define herself and her values and she's struggling to separate herself from her parents' expectations and perspectives. All of this is happening and she refuses to be flattened or defeated. Enter Matt Walsh, who wants nothing more than to stand with her while the ground shifts, even as his own world is turning upside down. And they're wild little filth monsters, so there's that too. I mean, she sneaks out after the one-night stand and he shows up a few hours later with the knickers she left behind. Monsters, the both of them.
This is a long way of saying--because it was a long way of getting here--that nine years ago this week Underneath It All, was released. Time really does fly when the voices in your head have stories to tell.
Oh, and I did eventually finishthat original book. It's funny how it's the only Walsh family story that doesn't take place inside the Walsh world although it required the whole of that world in order to be told.
In case you missed it:
★ In a Jam merch is available for a limited time through Novel Grounds (yesyesyes the Naked Provisions goodies are still in the works!)
★ Shucked will be narrated by Jason Clarke and Christine Lakin (dream cast!) although recording will not start until 2024 (sob).
Quickie Book Rec:
Along For The Ride by Mimi Grace - age gap, forced proximity/road trip romance about a woman and her brother-in-law’s best friend.
The Fastest Way to Fallby Denise Williams - loving this audio so much! Teddy Hamilton (perfection) and N'Jameh Camara (amazing) are a glorious pairing.
Love on the Bylineby Xio Axelrod - I could tell you why I like this book or I could quote the review that starts “If you are a fan of s*xy, hot, amazing s*x scenes - and are willing to wait for them - this is the book for you!”
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