Starting Something New

Being a full-time author, in addition to being awesome, is really time-consuming. Far more than expected. I posted a little teaser here a while ago about how I was working on something new, and then almost immediately I was hit in the face by a rewrite of a previous book and a big edit of Mr. Monster. Now it’s all out of the way, and my conferences are done for a few weeks, and I finally have time to get started on that book. For lack of a better title I’m going to refer to it as Strawberry Fields, but please keep in mind that this is purely a placeholder title that I have no intention of using; even if I convince myself that it’s a good final title, permissions rights to a Beatles song are wildly, hilariously expensive.

It seems strange to talk about a new project when there are still two more John Cleaver books and potentially another standalone that you haven’t even seen yet, but such is the nature of the publishing industry: it works very far ahead, and moves very slowly. I don’t intend to talk too much about it, because I want to keep it a surprise and I still have plenty of juicy stuff to talk about with the other books, but it’s what’s on my mind so that’s what you’re going to get.

So anyway: Strawberry Fields. Despite what the title suggests, it’s about neither strawberries nor fields; it’s about mental illness and the nature of reality. The concept for the book is kind of a riff on the schizophrenia story–the kind of story like A Beautiful Mind, where a guy falls into a conspiracy plot and then it turns out it’s all in head and half the people he knows are actually hallucinations. My idea is to do the exact opposite: a recovering schizophrenia patient, while struggling to deal with his disease and put his hallucinations behind him, discovers that some of the monsters he sees are real. I don’t dare say any more, but I will give you a quote from the song that inspired the working title:

No, sometimes—
Think it’s me.

But you know I know when it’s a dream.

I think I know,
I mean, a…
But it’s all wrong.

That is,
I think I disagree.

—John Lennon, Strawberry Fields Forever

22 Responses to “Starting Something New”

  1. Steve D says:

    When you told me about this idea, I was really excited. I had a similar idea a while ago, but didn’t think I had the still to do it yet. Your take on the idea will be great.

    Is this going to be more older-audience directed than the John Cleaver stuff?

  2. Steve D says:

    And by still, I mean skill.

  3. admin says:

    And by “I didn’t think I had the still to do it yet,” you mean “I can’t even spell properly, how am I going to write a book?”

    Cruel mockery aside, however, I’ll actually answer your question: yes, this will be aimed at an older audience. The goal is to hit a longer page count (around 90 to 100k) and aim for the adult thriller market.

  4. Debbie says:

    Dan… I am finally getting on your blog to tell you that I finished I Am Not a Serial Killer. I took it to the hospital as my reading material for when I had my baby (which was last Monday). My husband also read it and told me that it was one of the most original books he’s read in a long while. Said it easily hit his top ten books ever, and rest assured he has read more than ten books. I thought it was, well, jealousy inducing :) Your voice was great, the humor well placed, and the narrative so beautifully written that I couldn’t help but be a wee bit jealous. You have written a most fantastic book! I will definitely be singing it’s praises.

  5. Raethe says:

    I’d say “that’s what spell check is for”, but the spellcheck wouldn’t catch that one anyway. >>;

    Cool idea though. Looking forward to it.

    …Eventually. 😉

  6. Arlene says:

    Hooray! Something new! I’m going to try and control myself because I know this new book won’t be on the shelves for a very long time, but I can’t help myself. I want to jump up and down like a little girl!

  7. Jenny says:

    Sounds cool! And aiming at the adult market is a good idea, then you’ve got everything covered!

  8. L.T. Elliot says:

    Good song, if I do say so myself. Thanks for the teaser. At least we’ll be able to relate to this new character because of the mental problems we’re going to have over waiting. =P

  9. Steve D says:

    whu needz spelin?

  10. Arlene says:

    Not you, Steve.

  11. Callisto says:

    Definately not me.

    Sounds like a fascinating idea, Dan. I am going to try and not think about it, however, as I have far too much to look forward to already.

  12. Ooh, intriguing. Did I mention I minored in psychology? I find your characters fascinating. :)

    And also, I think you need therapy. 😉

  13. Titus says:

    But if Dan had therapy, he’d be sent to an asylum. What would we all read then? It would be disaster! Disaster, I tell you!

    P.S. Spelling rocks.

  14. Raethe says:

    Bah. Life is much more fun when you DON’T let people correct your brain problems.

    Uhh… not that I’d know, of course…

  15. 42 says:

    I used to think what would happen if some of the delusions of my paranoid schizophrenic clients were true. Besides the delusions that obviously were true.

  16. Callisto says:

    There there, Raethe. Nobody was pointing fingers.

  17. Arlene says:

    No it’s true. Pathos is much more interesting.

  18. Laura says:

    I have to say this sounds awesome and even though I know it won’t be out for a while I know I’m not going to be able to control the excitement.

    Raethe I have to agree at least when it comes to writers and their books

  19. admin says:

    Wow, Debbie, you read my book while delivering a child? Was it intended to induce labor, or a form of fear-based birth control to ensure you never do it again?

    On the plus side, you may be the first person to read my book soon accompanied by a real-life episode of blood and screaming. So, you know, extra points for realism.

  20. Dawn says:

    That’s an awesome quote! And how funny that I just bought strawberry plants today.

  21. Arlene says:

    Was that THE Dawn, Dan’s wife? I feel like we’ve just been graced by someone extraordinary.

  22. admin says:

    You have been.

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