Nearly two months ago, Nov. 30 to be exact, I sealed a draft of The Swanson Shuffle in an envelope and vowed not to open it for two months. I figured that was enough time to let this novel-in-progress steep while I did other writing projects.
I started the fourth Twin Jinn book for middle-graders and completed two solid chapters. I finished another project — my lips are sealed on that one. I worked on this website. Then, there were the holidays, and, yeah, my day job.
Jan. 30 is a week away. But I can’t wait any longer because I like this novel a lot.
The Swanson Shuffle is written in first-person, present-tense, which I feel I do well. Bia Fernandes is the person who does the telling. As I noted before, this novel is inspired by my experience living and working in a psychiatric halfway house. But Bia has her own experience and she handles the situation much better.
You can read an excerpt from the start in the books section of this website. The photos, taken from the Library of Congress Historic American Building Survey, are of the Taunton State Hospital in Massachusetts, where my grandfather was a patient for several years. As a child, I visited him with my family on Father’s Day. I use that experience in my book.
This is what I plan to do next. I will read The Swanson Shuffle all the way through. I promise I won’t lift a pen.
But I am curious if I carried the story all the way to the finish. Do my characters need to talk more? Was there a character I should have kept or let go? Is there enough description? Too much? What needs changing? What should stay the same?
I will find out soon enough.