Let’s Talk with Lois Winston

It’s a Book!
By Lois Winston

I recently gave birth to a book, A Sew Deadly Cruise, the ninth in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series. Better a book than a baby. I can’t imagine going through childbirth nine times!

However, it’s amazing how much childbirth and books have in common. First, the gestation period is about the same, at least for me. It takes me about nine months to write a book. During the gestation period, both pregnancy and writing have a way of keeping you up at night. With pregnancy it’s hard to find a comfortable position for sleeping. Then there’s the acid reflux. Restless leg syndrome. And a child in utero deciding 3am is the perfect time to practice for the U.S. Olympic soccer team.

With a manuscript, authors are often kept awake trying to come up with a plot for the next book. Once they have a plot, they stress over the characters. The scenes. The dialogue. The pacing. The conflict. And where in the world is that elusive muse when you need her?

Sleepless nights don’t end with either the birth of a baby or the birth of a book. The baby has to be fed every few hours. By the time you’re done feeding and changing a diaper, you fall back into bed, stare at the clock, and groan, realizing the cycle will begin all over again in another hour or so. Once the baby is no longer waking to nurse every two or three hours, she’ll wake from colic, teething pains, night terrors, or ear infections.

Of course, you don’t have to get up to nurse a book every few hours throughout the night, but I don’t know a single author who hasn’t lost sleep over book sales, worrying whether she’ll earn out her advance, whether her option book will be accepted, and whether she’ll sell enough books to be offered another contract.

But there’s also quite a bit of joy common to both births. You marvel and beam every time your baby passes a milestone—that first smile, rolling over, sitting up, a first tooth, crawling, standing, walking, talking…

With a book, it’s much the same. The day your author copies arrive is like Christmas morning. There’s the first editorial review, hopefully a starred one, when you have your very own Sally Field moment. Your first book signing. Being invited to give a talk or take part in a panel at a conference. Making a bestseller list. Winning an award. And fan mail. Few things in an author’s career are as priceless as a total stranger reaching out to say how much your book has meant to her.

So, come join me in a celebration of the birth of A Sew Deadly Cruise. Post a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of any one of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries. You can find them all here.

A Sew Deadly Cruise
An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 9

Life is looking up for magazine crafts editor Anastasia Pollack. Newly engaged, she and photojournalist fiancé Zack Barnes are on a winter cruise with her family, compliments of a Christmas gift from her half-brother-in-law. Son Alex’s girlfriend and her father have also joined them. Shortly after boarding the ship, Anastasia is approached by a man with an unusual interest in her engagement ring. When she tells Zack of her encounter, he suggests the man might be a jewel thief scouting for his next mark. But before Anastasia can point the man out to Zack, the would-be thief approaches him, revealing his true motivation. Long-buried secrets now threaten the well-being of everyone Anastasia holds dear. And that’s before the first dead body turns up.

Craft projects included.

Comments

  1. Congrats, Lois! Well birthed! That description hooked me. On a cruise ship. Oh, lordy! I had to laugh at your response to Diane where you say people have told you they have an idea for a book and if you write it, they’ll split the advance and royalties. Someone did that to me at a wedding of all things and wouldn’t let me get past him until his wife came over and dragged him away. So I’m right with ya! Do they have any idea?? No. Looking forward to A SEW DEADLY CRUISE.

    • Thanks, Valerie! Hope you enjoy Anastasia’s latest adventure. Back when I was writing romance, I dreaded having to attend the annual Christmas dinner at the company where my husband worked. Invariably, one of his coworkers (it was always a guy) would ask me how I researched the sex scenes in my books. I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore! Funny how no one has ever asked me how I research the way I kill people in my books.

  2. Well I am hooked after reading the well crafted description. Looks like I have another title to add to my TBR list!

    • Tracy, you put a smile on my face. I hope you enjoy getting to know Anastasia and her family.

  3. Congrats on the new book. You nailed some of the emotions that go into it…

  4. I’ve never experienced childbirth, but birthing a book, although not as physical, is certainly full of up and down emotions.

    • authorlois says

      I don’t know, Kathleen. Sometimes I think writing a book is just as physical as childbirth, at least where the stress is concerned. 😉

  5. Hi Lois,

    Yes, I’ve noted the similarities as well. Nov. 1st will mark the 20th publication of one of my novels. It’s always significant.

  6. That’s an apt comparison. We bring our baby into the world same as we launch our new book. There’s a lot of work building up to the great event. That’s just the beginning of the effort involved in the care and nurturing of our precious bundle.Good luck with your new release!

  7. After my first book was released, I was stunned to realize the similarities between birthing a baby and a book. Such a proud moment when you can hold that hardcover or paperback in your hands. Congrats on your new release, Lois. I can’t wait to start it.

  8. maggietoussaint says

    My process is similar in duration, but I also liken the editing process to dealing a rebellious teenager. It is conflict-ridden, emotional, and very angsty. And there are so many places for doubt to creep in. It takes a strong-minded person to bring a book to market. Launching it is a bit like childbirth all over again with the author riding on the currents of sales and reviews. It is strange and curious and wonderful all at the same time. Congratulations on the new book!

    • Maggie, you’re so right about editing being like dealing with a rebellious teenager. Both take a lot of self-discipline in order to wind up with a successful “product”. 😉

  9. dianestuckart says

    Congratulations on the new book! And when I hear people say that they wrote a book, and it was easy…well, obviously they were doing it wrong. 🙂 Because it is hard work if you do it right! Number 9 looks like it’s going to be a fun one.

    • authorlois says

      Thanks, Diane! Hope you enjoy it! I haven’t come across too many people who have claimed they’ve written a book and that it was easy. However, I’ve had many people tell me they have an idea for what they know will be a bestseller, and if I write it for them, they’ll split the advance and royalties with me. ;-D

  10. cherylhollon says

    Congratulations on birthing a book! Your description is so close to my experience — lost sleep, stress over plot — proud of the baby’s progress. It is so worth every bit of the effort.

    • authorlois says

      Yes, Cheryl, in both cases I’ve found it was well worth the effort. However, there were times during my sons’ teen years and each time my muse takes off for parts unknown that I lose quite a bit of sleep due to stress. Had one of those nights just last night as I lay awake trying to decide on a plot for the next book.