If you scroll down to the middle of my home page for my new website, linwilder.com, you will quickly see that I am writing two books at once- a first for me. Each book is scheduled to be released next year. Certainly, I did not plan it this way.
However, the antagonist-and even major parts of the plot for Plausible Liars have proved to be so elusive that it makes a strange kind of sense to take a break from all things transgender to return to a place that feels like home: The ancient world. Which in itself is a peculiar fact. About two and a half years ago, I clearly recall hearing that “your next book will be about Pontius Pilate” one Tuesday morning while praying the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary on a hike in the mountains of Nevada. My reaction was to stop short and inaudibly shout a “Huh? I know nothing about writing historical fiction!”
But after the research and writing of I, Claudia and then, My Name is Saul, I find the ancient world far more comfortable than I do the twenty-first- century. If you’ve been reading these mostly weekly posts of late, then you may recall that Plausible Liars was scheduled to be released about now. Or at least a completed first draft of the manuscript. But that was magical thinking on my part.
Several months ago, back in July, I wrote that I should be “writing like crazy, clear about the plot and direction of Plausible Liars.” But I wasn’t even close. It took over four months to accept that I could not write this book right now.
First I had to deal with what my psychologist husband calls my perfectionist and fear of failure demons. And analyze what was happening. That process was accelerated by a friend who after listening to my writing struggles with this story, asked, “But isn’t that writers do? Deal with characters that most of us cannot possibly relate to? Make them come alive?”
I answered, “You’re right.” As I stared at him, began to dissect my problem… Yes, Paul, that’s precisely what we do” and instantly thought of Joe Cairns. Of those days and weeks of pondering, thinking, imagining, “What would cause a highly decorated special forces Marine to sell himself out for hire?”
“Can I do this…make this guy someone real?”
Yes, I could. Joe Cairns was so real that in those last pages of writing Malthus, I told my husband that I did not know what was going to happen. Of what Cairns would do.
It’s a strange combination of walking in the shoes of a character while keeping distant from the psyche of a genius like Viktor Dragovic who considers it the essence of reason to annihilate humanity. Another of the Malthus lineup of characters…a razor’s edge, really. I’ve not been able to walk that razor’s edge with the antagonist Dr. T. in Plausible Liars or for much of the story-line.
Esther’s story is, of course, Queen Esther from the Old Testament Book of Esther, wife of King Xerxes, and son of King Darius. The research feels like returning to old friends like Josephus, Herodotus, the Torah and Jewish scholars of the Old Testament. And revisiting the Greco-Persian Wars instead this time, not from the Greek perspective, but the Persian.
If you scroll back up to Nancy Clearly’s cover for The Reluctant Queen at the beginning of this post, you’ll see Esther. In Hebrew, her name means “hidden.” Nancy’s cover conveys this hiddenness, along with beauty, mystery, allure and a sense of steadfastness…even doggedness. A perfect description of this intriguing woman whom I am getting to know. And in a few months, you will too.
Here’s the prologue if you’d like to take a peek.
And yes, Plausible Liars will get written-just a year later than I planned.