I'm very, very happy with the characters and what they're doing/how they're growing; that part's easy. But the mystery part...giving me unbelievable trouble! And I don't know why.
I have NEVER had such problems with a book before, and perhaps, after publishing ten, and writing at least as many again (a huge, annotated book about Jim, me and spirituality which will probably never be published; a kid's book that my editor deemed too sophisticated for kids and not meaty enough for YA, but would have been illustrated by Tom Canty; the Viking book; plus all the Rennie ones currently in various stages of completion), I guess maybe I was due for a rough patch. My books have all come so INCREDIBLY easily, always, that I just figured a book of mine always would...
And this one too. Until now.
Admittedly, the murders are fairly complex this time, with a veritable fishmonger's stall of red herrings. Without giving too much away, the murderees and murderers are deeply intertwined and interconnected, and hopefully you won't guess First Murderer until the big reveal at the end. But maybe you will. And I'm still stuck on how Second Murderer is discovered. And Third Murderer.
The rest of the book I'm really proud of. There's some very nice music writing, if I do say so myself, about the Festival itself: the actual, real bands as well as the big breakthrough appearances of Turk, Prax and Tansy, and the local color. Plus the growth of Rennie as a person, and some cameos by people like Janis Joplin and Jerry Garcia, and some new characters I'm very pleased with and hope you will be too.
Alas, it won't be out in June, as I in my traha had recklessly boasted. But since the third book is done, I still hope to have both of them out this year.
It's the figuring out the denouement of the mystery angle and the reveals that has me all knotted up. But, tempting though it is to use the Gordian Plot Device ("And then the sun went nova and everybody died! The End."), I'll make them bend to my will yet. You'll see.
And, by Gwydion, god of writers, and Kwang Gung, god of war and literature, so will they.