I am writing a novel this month (along with over 13,000 people around the world who are participating in November is National Novel Writing Month, or Nanowrimo, for short.) It's been quite a rush. The goal is to write 50,000 words over the course of the month--if you reach that word count, you're a winner (it's more like a marathon than anything else.) The emphasis is definitely quantity, not quality.
I had started to write a new novel this summer, but the writing was quite slow-going. The story is very research-intensive, so it was hard for me to lose myself in the flow of it (plus, I had been feeling annoyingly self-conscious about my writing ever since FRUITFLESH came out this Spring. It felt ironic to me--I was travelling around, talking to people about the writing process, while my own process was growing considerably less juicy.) I decided to do this Nanowrimo thing to re-enter the gush of words, to set the historical novel aside and just blast something out without my new awareness of the publishing world shadowing my process. It's been great fun. The characters from THE BOOK OF DEAD BIRDS started talking to me again; the novel I'm writing this month is a sequel, something I never imagined I would do. I always had a sense that the characters were off living lives after the story ended, but I never really thought about what they were doing (even though I felt such fondness for them and wished them well.) It's been amazing to catch up with them.
Speaking of THE BOOK OF DEAD BIRDS, my editor just sent me a mock-up of the cover. It's so gorgeous. It's nothing like I had visualized it would be, but it's perfect.