As of last night, I have officially read all of Adam Silvera’s novels. On the one hand, this means I’m current. On the other hand, this also means that now I want more, and the next one isn’t out yet. Though Mr. Silvera’s books are contemporary YA, they have a lot of what I look for in historical romance. The focus on character and relationship, the vivid use of setting, distinct character voice, which melds with an author voice that fits the story world and subject matter. I want more of that. Since his next book doesn’t come out until next year, this means I need to read something else.
Thankfully, this is not a problem. I am only half joking when I say I could build a small house out of my TBR books and read my way out. Right now, I am also reading (re-reading) To Love Again, by Bertrice Small. Historical romance instead of contemporary YA this time, and the setting is Roman Britain, not modern NYC, but, here again, there is that full immersion in the story world, the clear author voice, and the knowledge that, when I pick up a novel by this author, I know what I am getting. Ms. Small is the author who got me into reading and writing historical romance in the first place, so re-reading one of her books is, in a way, like coming home. That’s a good place to come from, when one’s focus is on creating one’s own fiction.
Right now, I am at my desk, my Starbucks mug all but empty of my second cup of tea for the day. The weather is grey and intermittently rainy, which made for excellent foliage peeping as I walked through the park on my way to and from a doctor appointment this morning. My office assistant is on duty, currently catloafed on the small sliver of hardwood between my office door and the start of the carpet she refuses to cross.
My “A Working Day” playlist is playing through my earphones, and the blinds in my window are open enough to let me peer outside and get a glimpse of the beautiful greyness that awaits on the other side of the window. The Canada Geese and their mallard buddies are still in the lake in the park. The weather has been mild enough, this autumn, that they are sticking around, patrolling their waters, and giving some waterfowl-y side-eye to humans who interrupt their routine.
These are the autumn days I love the very, very best. Now that the days get darker, earlier, there’s an extra pep in my step. Apple cider (cold or hot, along with donuts made from/with same) and pumpkin pie are always welcome, as are steaming mugs of tea, hot apple pie and the requisite melty scoop of vanilla ice cream. This weather is perfect for walks around the lake, stories swirling in my head. Sometimes, these stories are the books that I’ve been reading, and, sometimes, they are my own.
Okay, always, they are my own. Even when reading someone else’s work, the repertory company in my head peers over my shoulder. This one wouldn’t have done that, this other one can’t wait to see a certain character’s choice bite them in the posterior a few chapters down the road, and, more often than not, my own imaginary friends work out some of their drama while I’m caught in the drama of others. Call it subliminal, or back-burner, or free-floating, all I know is that it works. If the worst thing is not knowing what comes next, then the best thing is immersing myself in the things that I love, and knowing that something is going to come out of that.
This morning, it was two walks through the park, with waterfowl, and a stranger’s Husky that had to give me a hand kiss before he would continue with his walk. It was the promise of Lapsang Souchong tea when I reached my destination, vivid word pictures swirling in my head. It was a few isolated drops of drizzle, the true deluge likely held at bay by the fact that I brought my vintage wood-handled umbrella with me, in case the sky did open. The sky did not open, apart from aforementioned drizzle, so the umbrella also remained closed. Better to have an umbrella and not need it, than need it and not have it. There’s also the fact that I like this umbrella. It’s kind of dapper. It’s plain black, but it has a presence, and it has a history, both things I like to have in my fiction.
If we had a fireplace in our apartment, I would stuff some firewood in there, maybe even toss in a pinecone or two, and scootch the antique rocking chair that I have loved as far back as I can remember, up to said fire, blanket in my lap, and pen and notebook in hand. Days like this are meant for stories, both the reading and the writing of them. For those of us who write for publication, that doesn’t mean we only write when the atmosphere is right; we wouldn’t have any books whatsoever if our favorite authors did that. Still, when these days come, they are all the more special for their rarity, a time to open the metaphorical windows of the writer brain and let the room fill, then put all of that on the page.