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Just before midnight 7 July I emailed a complete draft of The Hero’s Wife to my editor at Crown.  Hurrah! Though I laugh at friends who say, Wow! It’s finished. It’s far from “finished”, but I’ve followed the story through, and come to a conclusion, and I’m confident there is a book here. That’s the hurrah. The frightening part is past.

Toward the end of a first draft I feel disembodied. I’m dizzy with conflicting ideas, dragging behind me the tangled ball of paths not taken, so wrapped up by the story lines that I’m vague about what’s going on in my “real life”. Joan of Kent has been a fascinating companion, hilariously rebellious as I’ve sorted out the knot of her marital history, followed my intuition on her motivations and those of her spouses, her family, and the royal family. What a cast of egos. They exhausted me.

From Chinese medicine I’ve learned about the need to replenish my “water” element after deep creative work. So I’ve spent a little over a week relaxing, especially walking along the lake, doing yoga, meditating, gardening, sleeping, catching up with my husband and with friends, replenishing my reserve.  Hm… has nature been assisting my “water” replenishment  with our rainy weather?

Now I think I’m ready to read through the draft, first for my overall impression, then with notes gathered along the way from my two first readers, and eventually with my editor’s input. I’m  anxious. What horrors lurk in those pages? I’m excited. What delights abound? I’m relieved. My first readers love it.

Toward the end my sanity was not helped by whispers in the night from the Owen Archer ensemble. Magda Digby’s been wandering around the nave of York Minster, Alisoun Ffulford is out to prove something, Owen is at sea since Thoresby’s death and Lucie’s worried about him. They’ve been clamoring for some structure in their lives, aka the 11th Owen Archer novel.

Much to do.

Update 19 February 2013. No, you haven’t somehow missed the publication of The Hero’s Wife; in fact, the book that will now carry that title is not yet written. After reading through the draft mentioned in this post is was clear to me that the title belonged to a followup book, and I renamed the current one. I’ll not jinx the new title by mentioning it. I’m afraid the current book that was formerly known as The Hero’s Wife does not yet have a publication date because… I am still working on it. Writing this book has proved a strange journey–if you’re going to the medieval congress at Western Michigan University this May you might want to attend the Society of the White Hart Saturday morning session, where I’ll present a paper on my experience of trying to make sense of Joan of Kent’s marital history.

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