At an author event last week at the Logmark Bookstore in Cheboygan, MI, I was talking with two other writers about how completely we become absorbed in the book we're writing. It wasn't a new conversation; authors often speak of being immersed in a world of their own creation. When we finish a book, it's like waking up and becoming re-involved in the world outside our heads.We're probably lucky if we find that our significant others still live in the same house and our children haven't murdered each other with butter knives.
The concept has an odd corollary for me. Once I've moved on from a book, once it's published and doesn't belong to just me anymore, it feels almost as if someone else wrote it. When a reader mentions my first book, for a split second I think, "I wrote that? Oh, yeah, I remember now." I think it's because I move on while the book remains static, stuck to the pages it's printed on.
I recently reacquired the rights to a book published a few years ago, so I decided to re-edit it and see about getting it out there in better form.(Best not to comment on the shape it was in for that first release!) It's a great exercise, because it's almost like I'm reading someone else's book.
It makes me wonder about authors who've published twenty or more books with the same protagonist. They must lose track of what case their detective was on in Book #8 or who the bad guy was in Book #15. I suppose they just have to hope they recognize the title when someone says, "Hey! I loved Midnight in the Gardens of Ogden. Great book!"
Oh. Did I write that?