Inside the Writer’s Head: Behind the scenes with our Writer-in-Residence

Every Writer-in-Residence here at the Library is, of course, writing while in residence. The application process, in fact, involves providing the selection committee with a sample or proposal of what we plan to work on during our tenure. So, as I enter the last quarter of my term, I thought I’d give you all an update on what I’ve been up to between the workshops and podcasts, opens a new window you’ve been seeing from me all year.

My primary focus at my desk has been my next novel under contract with St. Martin’s Press. While this will be my fourth book with St. Martin’s—and I have a fifth already under contract—it’s my first time working with a new editor there, so we’ve been using this window to build rapport as well.

I spent the first half of the year getting my draft ready for her first look, and the last few months wrapping up a revision with her feedback in mind, while she is off on maternity leave (most important: building rapport with baby too!). I’m awaiting her take on the latest draft now, with fingers crossed. 

This stage is both exciting and nerve-wracking. You’ve spent a year trying to translate a vision to paper, and now, at last, it exists somewhere other than your mind, and all you can do is hope it achieves what you set out to.

While I can’t say much about the story yet, I aim to share an excerpt at the end of my Writer-in-Residence term, with my publisher’s blessing. This one is a nail-biting family drama, with a big moral dilemma at the center, and an even bigger twist at the end. I can’t wait to see it come to fruition, and to be able to share it with you as it does! 

In the meantime, I’m dipping into my idea file with fingers itching to start laying out a plan for my next big story. This begins as creative, freeing, and fun… and ends with another deadline, coming up before too long, to submit a synopsis to my publisher for their greenlight.

If I’m cooking full speed ahead on that new book by the holiday season, writing 2,000 new words a day while standing by to shepherd my current novel through the production process, I’ll be right on schedule, and a happy writer indeed. It’s all about juggling different projects at different stages and taking care to give each the space it needs.

Huge thanks to all the readers and fellow writers I’ve met at various branch libraries—and around town—who’ve shared with me their own best (and sometimes worst!) reading and writing experiences. Meeting so many of you has kept me inspired and energized, and I’m relishing these last few months we have “officially” together. If you see me out and about (Books by the Banks, opens a new window, anyone?), please say hi!

Until next time,
Jessica Strawser
2019 Writer-in-Residence: Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County
Editor-at-Large: Writer's Digest 
Novelist: Almost Missed You, opens a new window • Not That I Could Tell, opens a new window • Forget You Know Me, opens a new window • St. Martin's Press, opens a new window / t @jessicastrawser, opens a new window / f @jessicastrawserauthor, opens a new window