As a kid, I was compulsive about turning in school assignments on time. Later, as a news reporter, I knocked myself out to get my stories done by deadline.
Despite the popular image of novelists as dreamers who write when the spirit moves us, we have deadlines too. Even best-selling authors have an obligation to turn in their work on time, because publishers maintain production schedules. Editors, copy editors, cover artists, printers and bookstores depend on us.
So I feel rather strange about missing my most recent deadline, for the 12th book in the Safe Harbor Medical series. In fairness, I didn’t exactly miss it. I asked for a month’s extension, which Harlequin immediately granted.
As you may recall from last month’s blog, my mother died in December. Although she was 95, Sylvia Hyman was still working as a ceramic sculptor, with a show running through mid-March at Scottsdale Fine Arts in Arizona. Her death wasn’t exactly a shock, but neither was it expected.
I spent much of January at her home in Nashville. Along with my brother and his wife, my mother’s studio assistant, the housekeeper and numerous other wonderful friends and consultants, we tackled a big job: emptying out the home where she’d lived for 27 years. We also made sure her materials and archives went to the Tennessee State Museum and her studio equipment to working potters and ceramics programs
Now I’m back at the computer, revising and completing my latest book. I certainly don’t intend to miss another deadline.
My mother, who taught art for decades, didn’t accept sloppy work. So I won’t let her down, or my readers, either.