I just received this email from a school librarian in Saskatchewan, located fairly close to where I grew up.
I was so excited to read your email and to find out the third book in your series is finally available! I have had students read and re-read the first two books, and at least one student a week has asked about the third in the series.
I'm scheduled to hit the road again at the end of January, staring in Saskatchewan. If you're interested in bringing me to your school, use the contact page on this website to reach me.
You've no doubt heard about "back of the envelope ideas." Well, that's exactly how the cover concept for The Water War came about. This past August, I was in an airport somewhere in the American Midwest in production on my latest documentary when I decided it was time to get Kierston going on the cover. So, as my son and I were eating lunch, I quickly sketched up the following.
I sent it off to Kierston, along with a brief description of the scene, and she was off to the races. Her ability to interpret such horrid drawings is just one of the many reasons I enjoy working with her so much.
To see more of her work, check out her website. To see the finished version of the cover, visit my store--and pre-order a copy!
Here's a quick summary: When a beautiful new girl moves to Milligan Creek, everyone in town is so smitten that her mere presence threatens to ruin the perfect summer that Matt has planned for him, his brother, Chad, and their best friends, Andrew and Dean. So, the boys come up with what seems like the perfect distraction: a water war. It’s the ultimate game of survival, where every player is both hunter and prey. But when Matt's buddies invite the new girl to join in, the game that was supposed to unite them against the interloper threatens to tear their close friendship apart.
The book will be available in mid-November, but you can pre-order it now!
After completing the first draft last Monday, I've done a couple of rounds of revisions and now have my beta readers doing a second read-through. Once that's done, I will do the final revisions, and then it's off to the printer! After working on this book on and off over the past year, it's so exciting to finally see it so close to the finish line. And wait until you see the cover Kierston has created!
One of the funnest parts of writing is not knowing what will happen next. That applies to stories as well as life. Case in point: this morning, I got up at 6 a.m., as usual, planning to write my regular 2,000 words on The Water War before I began my other work for the day. Instead, I kept at it for the next eight hours, and now, at a little after 3 p.m., my first draft of the novel is complete! I can't tell you how elated I feel to know this long-awaited (at least in my mind) book is one huge step closer to being published. Now I'm going to walk away from the manuscript for a couple of days to let the story percolate in my brain and then dive back in to start revisions.
I FINALLY managed to clear my plate enough to bang out over 6,000 words on the book over the past three days. I'm having so much fun watching this adventure unfold that it's hard to stop writing and turn back to my other work.
In terms of a schedule, my goal is to have a solid first draft in place by the time Canadian Thanksgiving rolls around. Then I plan to spend the next month editing and revising, with the goal of having a finished book ready to release by the end of November. Stay tuned!
I had hoped to have this novel out by the end of August, but last May, I signed on to write, direct, and produce a feature-length documentary, which kept me on the road and away from my desk for much of the summer. However, now that the bulk of filming is complete, I can settle back at home into more of a regular schedule, which means getting up early and continuing work on The Water War.
This novel is more complex than the previous two books in the series, because, at a certain point in the story, the main plot branches into a series of sub-plots that come together again toward the end of the book. So, that has required a lot of planning and outlining to make sure everything weaves together. However, I should complete that process this week. And considering that the first half of the book is already written (including a couple of revision passes), I believe I'm still on track to get the book out later this fall.
In the meantime, here's a quick look at part of the thumbnail sketch for the cover which is being created as we speak.
When I teach creative writing, I often say my characters have better ideas than I do. There's a lot of truth to that notion. In fact, I just proved that to myself today while writing a chapter for The Water War (book three of the Milligan Creek series, due out this fall). I had no idea this morning that I was going to "kill" one of my major characters, but as the scene I had started yesterday unfolded during my writing session, one thing led to another, and suddenly, the Water War claimed its first casualty. The great thing about letting your characters lead the way like this is that if you, the writer, don't see such events coming, there's a good chance your readers won't either, because you won't have subconsciously planted any hints along the way. Something to remember in your own writing endeavours.
Just drove from Kimberley, BC, to Swift Current, SK, to kick off the second leg of the Unlimited book tour. I spent some of that time in the car thinking through a few final story points for book three in the Milligan Creek Series, The Water War. I was so inspired that, after grabbing a quick bite for supper, I sat down in my hotel room and banged out the first chapter. Excited to finally break the ice on this book. It's gonna be great! Meanwhile, over the next seven days, I'll be making my way through Saskatchewan and Alberta, doing writing workshops at various schools and also at the Young Authors' Conference in Edmonton this Saturday. See my other tour stops and contact me to book a writing workshop here.
Brief thoughts and updates on writing, publishing, and life