Liz here, and I’m so excited to have our friend LynDee Walker back on the blog! I’m even more excited for the new Nichelle book! Not to mention the relaunch of the rest of the series. But I’ll let LynDee tell you all about that. Take it away, LynDee!
Figuring out the theme of a novel can be nail-biting for those of us who don’t plot out our whole story in advance. I’ve written books where I had that part firm from the first glance at the blank page, and books where I wrestled it from a pile of words labeled a first draft—and I honestly couldn’t tell you which book was better.
This time around, the often-elusive theme came from the literal last place I would’ve ever thought to look: my bickering offspring.
I love being a mom, and I love these three little humans (well. Two little humans. The oldest one has about three and a half inches on me these days) with the fire of ten thousand suns. Summer is my favorite time of year, because they’re all home with me: I count remaining school days starting at Mother’s Day, looking forward to long days at the pool and the park and evenings out on the deck.
Five weeks into summer 2018, we’ve had loads of fun and laughs and late nights of family corn hole games on the back porch—but boy, they have tried my patience with petty arguments like never before.
Surprisingly, that’s been good for my writing in ways I expected, and ways I never would’ve. I try to write a lot during the school year so that I can take their summer breaks to be a full-time mom, catch up on my ever-growing reading pile, and relax with friends and family. This year, I signed a new contract in June (my entire Nichelle Clarke series was picked up by Severn River Publishing, with the first six books re-issued last month with beautiful new cover art and new branding, which is all very exciting). It also meant I started summer with a book that hasn’t been written yet due in October—cue slight panic amid the new-book-deal elation.
I am having an absolute blast, back in Nichelle’s world. I missed my old friends in the Richmond Telegraph newsroom, and I think they missed me, too, because this story is flat pouring out. I’m already deeper into the draft than I originally hoped I’d be by Labor Day, and all the usual hard parts haven’t been so hard this time. Which brings me back to the theme.
This summer, the everyday trips to the pool have been broken up by afternoons at the trampoline park. My three basketball players have discovered trampoline dodgeball—but they’re all athletes and all competitive, so that’s led to arguing over who was out and why and whether they hit each other on purpose, and more often than not, someone getting hurt feelings and fuming. As a mom, it’s a frustrating place to be: I love them all, I want them all to be happy, and I want to protect them all. But above all that, I know my job is to stay objective (thank you, journalism career) and take my teachable moments where I get them. But it’s a pretty cool bonus when I can manage all that and figure out that the thing my littles needed to learn is also the big thing Nichelle has to wrestle with and figure out this time around.
As this story opens, Nichelle is finally getting a taste of her dream job, invited to cover a speech the President is giving in Richmond, thanks to a scheduling conflict for the paper’s political desk chief. The White House has received death threats in advance of the appearance, but nobody is too worried—those are everyday wastebasket filler in twenty-first century politics. But when a dead body turns up in a high-profile (and politically volatile) setting days before the speech, the credibility of the threats rises, and a race to see which big story Nichelle can break first becomes a possible mission to save the leader of the free world. If Nichelle can save herself first. And figure out whose truth she can trust.
My working title is DEADLY POLITICS, and the book will be out this winter from Severn River Publishing. In the meantime, you can can catch up on the series for free with your kindle unlimited subscription, or find the first six books on amazon in ebook and print.
Readers, tell us about a fun surprise in your life in the comments to be entered to win a kindle book box set of the first three Nichelle Clarke books!