In this guest post, David talked about the writing process and how long it really takes to write a book...
People often ask me—and all writers—how long it takes to write a book. A fair question—and one that would seem to be easy to answer. But most writers, if they are being honest, might admit that it’s really tough to know exactly when the writing of one book begins. Sometimes the beginning of the book, the inspiration for it, the first kernel of an idea, can go back years.
Take my latest suspense novel, THE HIDING PLACE. Yes, I know how long I actually wrote it. Probably about a year from start to finish—outline, drafts, revising etc. But would you believe I really started writing that book thirty years ago? When I was about twelve years old, a boy disappeared from a park near where I grew up. The details of the case aren’t that important, except to say that it freaked me out. Why? Because I was a kid too. I wasn’t old enough to do a lot of things on my own, and I was young enough to still feel like a kid. In short, I felt vulnerable. I knew that bad things happened to kids. I knew they could happen to me.
Maybe that’s the start of adulthood for all of us—this recognition that the world is a dangerous place, that adults can’t protect us all the time. Heck, we can’t even protect ourselves all the time. All those years later, when I was ready to write another novel, I remembered the way I felt back then as a twelve year old. Scared. Anxious. Curious. And I poured it all into THE HIDING PLACE.
One of the characters in THE HIDING PLACE is a fifteen-year-old girl named Ashleigh. She is trying to figure out who killed her uncle, even though her uncle died ten years before she was born. Ashleigh understands the risks she is taking as she travels around her town by bus, talking to strangers and digging into things some people would prefer be left undisturbed. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that on a couple of occasions, Ashleigh gets herself into situations where her life really is in danger.
I’ve never been in those situations myself. I hope I never am. But I understand the emotions she is feeling. I understand wanting to know what makes the world work—and even the desire to try to understand why people do awful things. I felt that way as a kid when I heard about that missing child. And I feel that way as a writer. Fortunately, I don’t have to leave my desk to work these problems out. I can just sit here, think back to a summer long past, and let my imagination do the rest for me.
I want to thank David for posting here today, and to urge all of you who haven't read any of his books to do so--you will not be disappointed. You can find out more about David Bell at his website, DavidBellNovels.com. Click on over there and check it out.