I keep a notebook for each book I write. I thought it might be fun to share some of those pages with readers through a series of posts. Today’s post, the seventh in the series, will focus on my fourth novel, Miraculous.
My initial idea for Miraculous grew from a couple of things. A talk about charlatans I stumbled upon at a St. Louis museum planted the seed. David McRaney’s You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself helped the idea to blossom. As I read McRaney’s book, I couldn’t help but take notes. It was clear I was circling around an idea that I wanted to explore. The book I’d write would be about deception. It felt so obvious that I had a hard time not believing everyone who read You Are Not So Smart wouldn’t be inspired to do the same!
Ruined by rum! Decay in the digestive organs! And my favorite: Sweedish Leeches! (why that extra “e”?) Here’s a collection of various ads for cure-alls and patent medicines. It’s interesting to note my character, Dr. Kingsbury, is based on the man who invented Hamlin’s Wizard Oil. I don’t think that was necessarily the plan when I jotted these notes down.
Here I am trying to make sense of Oakdale, the town where Miraculous takes place. That’s Dr. Kingsbury’s medicine wagon, out near the river by the willow grove. I love how illustrator Craig Phillips placed the Great Oak Tree front and center on Miraculous’s cover.
Notes I printed and pasted from my Morning Pages (back when I was faithfully writing them). What I find interesting about this is almost nothing I’ve written here has stayed the same. But I also see here the exploration that was necessary for me to discover the true story (many drafts and rewrites later).
This book changed so much over the course of my work. I started researching in 2015, if I remember correctly. I sold it in 2018. It was supposed to publish in 2020. I’m glad it didn’t! I had two-thirds of the story to dump and and rediscover. All the time I spent poring over drafts on my own paid off when it was time to get to work with my editor. To this day, this book required the least number of editorial rounds (two) of any of my books. (This doesn’t include copy edits or first pass pages, where changes are still being made, or the billions of drafts I worked through on my own.)
A story told in five voices (six, if you include the one chapter from the dog’s point of view). Proud of this one! Can’t wait to share it with you in July. Pre-order today!
Read the post about May B. here.
Read about Over in the Wetlands here.
Read about Blue Birds here.
Read about Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine here.
Read about Ride On, Will Cody! here.
Read about A Race Around the World here.