Friday, December 11, 2015

A Year of The War That Saved My Life

I sat down to the blog this morning planning to write about Christmas songs. I get satellite radio in my car, and this time of year they have designated Christmas-music songs. I find I have lots of opinions about Christmas music, but, coming to the computer, wondered if I'd shared them all before. So I looked up the blog posts from last December, and what I found was a lot about the imminent publication of my tenth novel, 16th book, The War That Saved My Life.

It was published in January of this year, eleven months ago. Yesterday it showed up on Wall Street Journal's Best Books of the Year list, to go with Kirkus, Amazon, Publisher's Weekly, and the Horn Book's best books of the year lists.

Guys. A Horn Book best book of the year.

Last year I was holding my breath waiting to see how people reacted to this book. It's the book of my heart, the book that took every bit of skill I have as a writer. If there is something better than doing your best work and having people find it to be good, I don't know what that is.

Here's the thing: this book was born in the most painful, hidden places of my soul. Things I wished never had happened to me turned out to be essential--without my past, I couldn't have written this book. I've come to love the things I most wish hadn't happened. Which is sort of the moral to my next book, the one I'm nearly finished writing. It's what I learned, from the book that changed my life.