For most of 2019, I’ve been walled up deep in my writing cave, working on two secret book projects.
As readers of Publisher’s Weekly will know, my cover already has been blown on one of them. I’m working on a YA biography of one of America’s first female cryptanalysts, a woman who has fascinated me for years. The book is called SECRETS & SPIES: THE HIDDEN LIFE OF CODEBREAKER ELIZEBETH SMITH FRIEDMAN.
It took me more than two years to find the right way to tell Elizebeth’s story, but I’m glad I persisted, because researching and writing this book has been a glorious experience so far. A high point was my visit to the wonderful Marshall Library in Virginia, which holds 22 boxes of Elizebeth’s papers, including love letters, encrypted telegrams, and her college diary. My editor is the lovely Lee Wade of Schwartz & Wade, and Random House plans to publish the book in 2021.
My other WIP has been hush-hush till now. But today I’m happy to announce that there’s going to be a third Ra the Mighty mystery. RA AND THE CROCODILE CAPER will be coming to you in Fall 2020!
Juggling two books has made for a fraught six months, and I expect the next year will be pretty pressured, too. I’ve been working very long hours. But I couldn’t say no to either book because I love them both too much.
Luckily it’s working out pretty well. I’m tired but happy, and Elizebeth’s story of war, love, and madness is so intense and all-absorbing that it’s been good to have a little comic relief from Ra.
Wish me luck as I dive back into my writing cave!