That day was November 6, 2013. I finished it December 8, 2013.
I haven’t done THAT since I was working graveyards at a convenience store, but Sabrina Darby kept poking at me.
Whatcha workin’ on?
NOTHING! I’M DRY AS A BONE! DUNHAM DRAINED MY WELL! I’LL NEVER WRITE AGAIN!!!! WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
So…what’s in your idea folder?
OH, FINE. Here’s a list. I don’t know what to do with ANY of this stuff.
Tell me about THIS one. It seems most fully developed.
It’s just sketches. I have no idea what to do with it.
Hmm. *reads* So, um, why does X character do Y thing?
And that was pretty much all it took to start dumping in email at her and then I started sketching and next thing I knew, it was November 30 (end of NaNoWriMo) (no, I didn’t have any intention of doing NaNo) (no, I didn’t do it FOR NaNo), and I only had one scene to finish.
It is 95,000 words long. It has no title. It has no playlist. It has no cover. It has no release date.
But here I am telling you about it because, well… You know that scene in The Proviso where Giselle’s looking at the little blue lines on the pee stick and getting a weird feeling in her stomach?
But what it does have is a rough blurb and excerpts I’ve been posting on Facebook, but I’d rather not punish non-Facebook fans by doing that. So…here’s me naked.
So to speak.
Nineteen-year-old fresh-faced Mormon missionary Étienne Dunham LaMontagne, engineer, inventor, was always easy to love, but he was a nightmare to live with—his brilliance, pirate-king beauty, and penchant for high drama exhausted everybody who loved him. There was only one girl who could do it—seventeen-year-old budding green architect Mi-Kyung Tess Chun, with her visionary genius, flamboyant beauty, and penchant for bringing on the crazy.
Until she couldn’t.
Twenty years and five children later, her genius is gone, ground fine as talc under the unrelenting heel of life as a wife, mother, cleaning service, chauffeur, Relief Society president, and Étienne’s personal handler. It was exhausting. And she had exactly five groundbreaking buildings to her name—built with Étienne when she was young and stupid in love and bringing the crazy.
And Étienne—well, he hadn’t wanted a wife, mother, cleaning service, chauffeur, Relief Society president, or personal handler. He wanted the visionary architect and voracious lover he’d married who asked him to build things he had no idea how to build to power her buildings. He resented that somewhere along the way, she had allowed her vision to crumble in favor of dusting miniblinds and baseboards.
They part company bitterly, all that love and genius and drama wrapped up in cold divorce papers, their complaints unintelligible to the other.
Five years later, Étienne is utterly humbled after having built Whittaker House—a disaster of a building—with an average architect. The shame of it sent him traipsing around the world with his oldest—and very angry—son. Along the way, he’s learned a thing or two about functioning in the world on its terms instead of his. When his youngest daughter begs him to come home to check on his oldest daughter, he does so reluctantly, only to find himself cleaning up the mess her life has become—something he couldn’t have done five years before.
Tess’s vision has returned and she is again on top of green energy architecture, her flamboyance tempered but her vision strengthened, broadened, lengthened with time, age, and maturity. But she’s still a mother, and her now-adult children have problems of their own—serious problems. Her oldest son has been missing for five years. One of her low-maintenance children has severe antepartum psychosis. Her youngest daughter dropped out of high school.
Tess was exhausted being Étienne’s keeper, but once free of her, he’s learned how to be a normal human being.
Étienne resented Tess for letting her vision disappear, but once free of him, her vision has returned.
But even separated by distance and time, they never stopped loving each other. It’s just that sometimes . . . love isn’t enough.
Until it is.
Did I mention it’s a sobfest?