Endings, and Beginnings

I typed the final chapter of The Bones of Paris yesterday afternoon with my grandson chuntering around at my knee, no doubt contributing his own influence to the words.  I say “typed” rather than “wrote” because I actually finished the book ten days ago, but had a preliminary rewrite to do before I could send it off.  I knew what the final chapter would be, and saved it to type as a coda after the rewrite.  When I finished that yesterday, I typed it out.

Done.  But not finished.  I’ll send it to my editor this weekend, and spend the next week slashing my way through the huge pile of household tasks that have been breathing down my neck since forever: sewing new cushions for a sofa, turning narrow curtains into wide ones, hanging a few dozen more pictures on the wall, arranging the deck and patio for actual use, now that the ladders and saws have retreated indoors. Oh, and isn’t Thanksgiving coming up sometime?

But you’re not interested in the house or the family.  You want to know about the book.

It’s a sequel to Touchstone, a story that was set in 1926 England during a General Strike that crippled the country and brought a threat of Communist takeover, to many minds, and a far more real threat of a backlash rise of Fascism.  My original version of Touchstone had most of the characters, er, failing to make it past the end, which made it rather firmly a standalone novel. I re-thought that decision, waving my authorial wand to bring most of them back to life, but by that time, the idea of it being a one-off was kind of set, in my mind and in my editor’s.  By the time I raised the possibility of a series–Hey, there’s enough left to build another one!–we were already headed in a non-series direction.

But I liked the surviving characters, and liked the idea of doing a small series set at interesting points during the years between the Wars.  Following four Russell novels, now’s the time.

Paris, 1929.  Hemingway swaggers, Man Ray transforms photography, Josephine Baker struts her stuff, and Americans pour into Montparnasse, fueled by a hugely generous exchange rate and a wish to be in on the action. The City of Light has never shone so bright.

But brilliant lights cast dark shadows, and the bones of Paris are stirring…

I’ve had a grand time writing Harris Stuyvesant again.  Stuyvesant is a big-fisted ex-Bureau man who’s been bumming around Europe doing odd jobs for odder people, when a letter comes asking him to find an American girl named Pip Crosby.  Who appears to have stepped into those Paris shadows.

Watch for The Bones of Paris next September.  I think you’ll really like it.

Comments

  1. Merrily Taylor says:

    Congratulations on finishing the first draft, Laurie! I am listening to “Touchstone” right now, to reacquaint myself with the characters before I read “Bones of Paris.” It will be good to meet up with Harris again!

  2. Strawberry Curls says:

    You have my mouth watering, I loved Harris and when I finished Touchstone I wanted to know what happened to Harris Stuyvesant and to Bennett Grey, wanted to know more about their lives. My wish granted has been granted. Thank you.

    –Alice

  3. I’m excited! I’ll take Touchstone off the shelf today for a re-read. (And you know, we ARE kind of interested in the house and the family. You seem like a friend, in a thoroughly non-creepy way, I swear.

  4. Veronica A. says:

    Yay! I LOVED Touchstone and am really looking forward to this new one. I hope it comes out in audiobook at the same time – I’m hopelessly addicted to “reading” my books on my commute! So glad you’re settling in to your new home!

  5. I had to stop reading this post halfway down, because I’m about halfway through reading Touchstone, for the first time — but I’m already glad to know there’s a sequel! Loving this book so much, and (as always) enmeshed in your words. Thank you!

  6. Since I am a new reader to Laurie R. King it looks like I am in for a treat to read Touchstone for the first time. Then I will be tantalized by waiting for September. Barb

  7. Yay! I too loved Touchstone, its probably my favorite Laurie King book and Harris Stuyvesant is such an interesting character…I’d love to meet him. Combined with Paris in 1929…can hardly wait.

  8. Looks like it’s time to dust off my copy of “Touchstone” and re-read – just to get ready. Sounds like it will be a fun next installment.

  9. Quite a coincidence of timing – I just got Touchstone out of the library last week! I’ll certainly be interested to see more of Harris, and Bennett too if he happens to make an appearance.

  10. Richard Cowan says:

    New to LRK. Found “Pirate King” at local library, book #74 this year, and am HOOKED. Went to “Beekeepers Apprentice” for #76, then discovered Touchstone for #77 while traveling, couldn’t wait to find if a sequel was forthcoming…after unpacking went straight to computer and found “good news”! Can’t we get more Harris and Bennett sooner? Oh well I have a few Mary Russell books to catch up on. Not sure I can get to 100 books this year, but now have an impetus. Thanks.
    Great to find a “new” author. Will think about LRK each time I pass through Marin County.

  11. Marian Gonzalez says:

    Since I live in San Francisco, I liked the Inspector Martinelli series. Will you ever revive her? I am fascinated with the Mary Russell books and marvel at your ability to capture the British spelling and words. It is amazing and most intriguing.

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