My ninth novel, And It Will Be a Beautiful Life, flew the coop earlier this week, and I couldn't be happier. It's a beautifully produced original hardcover (my first), it's 352 pages of my beating heart, and I'm proud of the work I did on it.
Though this is my ninth novel (and 10th book overall), in many ways it feels like my first. I broke with my longtime publisher a few years ago—nothing scandalous or rooted in hard feelings, just a parting of ways that happens in publishing and in life—and last year joined up with The Story Plant, the kind of small, attentive, scrappy, excellent publisher that's a wonderful fit for me and my work. I'm so pleased with the association. We are a good match.
So this book, in many ways, is the beginning of Act 2 for me. Whatever it's going to be. I'm going to give it everything I have. I feel as though I have a lot of work yet to lay into.
One thing I plan to do—to whatever extent time, responsibilities, and the pandemic residue allow—is travel with this book, in the broadest possible definition of the word travel:
Eventually, of course, I have to find my way back to the desk. One of the truths of writing and publishing is that a new book out in the world is an old book in terms of the effort expended to get it there. I loved everything about the experience of writing this book and seeing it evolve into a finished artifact. And yet, a new journey ever beckons.
I'll be on that road soon ...
Craig Lancaster is an author, an editor, a publication designer, a layabout, a largely frustrated Dallas Mavericks fan, an eater of breakfast, a dreamer of dreams, a husband, a brother, a son, an uncle. And most of all, a man who values a T-shirt.