The first-pass proofs for the next Ra mystery have arrived, and as always the first glimpse gave me a jolt of excitement. It’s going to be a BOOK. You’d think I’d have realized that some time ago, and of course there’s a sense in which I have. But there are many months, when I’m deep in drafting, when a book is all mine, and sharing it with the world seems a distant prospect (and sometimes an unlikely one). But that time is over now for The Great Tomb Robbery. Now that it’s typeset and the illustrations are in and you can see the cover page, it’s incontrovertible: this book is on its way into the world.

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Like Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods, I’m “excited — / Well, excited and scared.”  Or maybe I’m more like Little Red’s mother, who probably had some of the same complicated emotions. Who wouldn’t, sending a child into the woods? Will she be all right? Will people be kind? Will she find her way?

Yet both books and children need to find their way into the world, and with luck they’ll find friends and have adventures that you never foresaw. At any rate, that’s what I hope for with The Great Tomb Robbery.

Still, it’s hard not to worry about all the pitfalls and misfortunes that can befall a good book. So it was especially wonderful to hear some great news about the first Ra book last week. The Mystery Writers of America have named Ra the Mighty an Edgar Award Nominee for Best Juvenile Mystery.  There are seven wonderful finalists in all, and I’m thrilled that Ra is among them — doubly so, since I know that humor is often overlooked when it comes to awards.

But there’s work to do yet on those proofs. So now I’m headed back to them.