What's going on? Why have I been so quiet? Well: I have said yes to a number of projects, and now am trying to figure out how to juggle them all. The three main ones are these:
I know. That is pretty much what my office looks like all the time - a mess. But this stuff can be divided into three:
1) At the Edge of the Orchard, my next novel. Yes, I have a title at last! It is about apple trees - the domesticated trees - and sequoias and redwoods - the wild trees. It's about how people relate to trees, and what it means to settle, or leave and go west. It's set in 19th-century America, and there's some Gold Rush in there, and heartache, plus a plant agent, a landlady with attitude, a quilt for all you quilters, and one monster of a mother. Publication is at the beginning of March 2016 in the US and UK, with other countries to follow.
2) Charlotte Bronte. What's she doing there? Well, her 200th birthday is April 21, 2016, and I have gotten involved in organizing celebrations. I am curating a show - I Shall Go Off Like a Bombshell - for the Bronte Parsonage in Yorkshire, organizing events, and editing a short story collection called Reader, I Married Him. 20 tremendous women writers are penning these stories as we speak. Reader, I Married Him is published at the end of March 2016 in the US and UK, with other countries to follow. See a pattern there? Yup, next spring is going to be BUSY.
3) Othello. I know, I'm mad, but I couldn't resist answering the call from Vintage/Hogarth Press to choose a Shakespeare play and write a novel inspired by it. I'm setting my Othello on a 1970s school playground. Remember being 11 when everything starts to turn tricky between boys and girls, and with anyone who's a little different? That's what happens. I am loving writing it, it keeps me sane and makes me remember all the playground politics I went through.
Mix in a few other responsibilities, and I'm like this:
But I like it like that.