Sunday, February 26, 2012

Comfort Zone Contemplation

In writing, like in life, sometimes there is something to gain by getting out of your comfort zone. At least we hope so.

Our next book is still with the editor and we’re looking for advanced readers for the one after that. (Let us know if you want to read the Bobbie Titan sequel and we’ll get you a copy.) So now it is time to start writing a new novel and, up until two days ago, we were having problems deciding what it should be about. The ideas we were tossing around sounded a lot like the books we’ve already or have just about completed. Frankly, there’s comfort in knowing we can generate these kinds of novels and the great reviews we’ve received so far offer compelling rationale for not straying too far from our strengths. Still, we want to keep it fresh and original and we worry about treading over an already well worn path.

This past week we were visiting our second daughter, Sarah, and her intended, Terence. While on our own one day, we came upon Canopy Tours, an adventure company that specializes in setting up zip lines in out of the way places. The one that is near our daughter’s house in Marin County rockets tourists through Redwood and Douglas Fir branches a hundred feet off the ground. Those of you who know our real personas will attest that neither Lynn nor Evans will be mistaken for a daredevil. In fact, the thought of perching on the side of a tree waiting for a turn to whiz on a line that looks too thin to support anything larger than the grey squirrels that scamper through the branches is the stuff that can wake Evans up at night with cold sweats. Lynn believed Evans would chicken out right up until his feet lifted from the first of seven breathtakingly wild and beautiful sails over the California coastal redwoods.

While driving back and chattering like magpies over how exciting the adventure was and how brave we’d been, we decided to take a chance and strike out in a new direction with our next novel. So now we’re going to see if we can craft a “sassy mystery.” We’re not really worried about the characters, but trying to figure out a realistic plot that offers the kind of interconnected but unexpected twists and turns that experienced mystery readers demand is a little scary. This is not unlike standing next to a swaying redwood trunk 90 feet in the air wondering if you have what it takes to step off into the sky. We only hope that the result is as fun and as thrilling as our time spent racing between the trees in Northern California.

On a personal note: We’d like to offer our sincere condolences to Mr. Chuck Wolf. He lost his wife of forty-one years, Nola, when a speeding car left the Bohemian Highway and crashed through the gazebo where people were waiting to be taken up the mountain to begin zipping through the trees. We had left this exact spot two hours before after completing our own adventure and remained blissfully unaware of the tragedy until our future son-in-law sent us a text the next day. We would also like to offer our heartfelt sympathies to our adventure guides, James and Sarah. We know you must be devastated by events you could not have foreseen. You took such good care of us and we know you would have done the same for the Wolfs had you been given the chance. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and with Nola’s family whose tragic loss is as devastating as it is unexpected.

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