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:
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.
I think I disagree.
—John Lennon, Strawberry Fields Forever