[UPDATE: The Westerman Affair was published in 2017!]
This will be my ninth NaNoWriMo. I’m such a geek about the event that I went ahead and filled in all my novels since 2006 – which just shows how geeky I really am since I’ve kept all that NaNoWriMo documentation over the years. I’ve left the original covers I made for the event and not the covers as published (only two books remain unfinished, and therefore, unpublished). I really like that General’s Wife cover! It’s a detail from Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s amazing Baroque sculpture The Rape of Proserpina, 1621-22, in Rome’s Borghese Gallery. I also like that tag line I made for it: “Will she submit to the enemy?” I should totally use that when I redo the cover.
This year I’m back doing another Victorian piece, an erotic romance set in 1880, with the NaNoWriMo working title of The Westerman Affair. Erotic themes will include polyamory and spanking, and the main character, landscape painter Charles Westerman, will be the focus of the erotic journey and culminating character transformation.
Charles Westerman is obsessed with Rosamund. Problem is she’s married—to his best friend, Jeremy. But Rosamund and Jeremy’s marriage is curiously modern for Victorian England, and the couple draws Charles into an arrangement where he explores passions and proclivities he never knew existed—and never knew he had.
I started writing notes for the story back in April 2009, and then I got distracted by other projects. My interest was renewed earlier this year after some interesting conversations with authors and publishers at the RT Booklover’s Convention. The plot has changed a bit from my initial notes, but not the thematic element of confronting an unexpected erotic side of oneself.
Something new this year: This year’s NaNo novel has a theme song! Uninvited by Alanis Morissette. It’s a song that reminds me of the relationship between the characters Charles and Rosamund.
And something a little melancholy about this year: It will be the last year I do NaNoWriMo in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s been amazing participating in the event where it was founded and being able to volunteer for the Office of Letters and Light. I’ve met – and hung out with – the wonderful staff over the years, including founder Chris Baty.
Chris is very tall, charismatic, and has a peculiar mania for alpacas and llamas.
My ten-week @NaNoWriMo class at Stanford is open for sign-ups! https://t.co/AaVg2yjFYO Every winner gets a llama! pic.twitter.com/Ew0jNequwV
— Chris Baty (@chrisbaty) August 18, 2014
He has just released the revised and expanded edition of his NaNoWriMo classic No Plot? No Problem! A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days
It is an extreme honor to be quoted in the new edition of No Plot? No Problem! Along with other winners, I offer sage advice in the Tips from the Trenches sidebars:
Tips from the Trenches: NaNoWriMo Winners on Week Three
Tips from the Trenches: NaNoWriMo Winners on Post-Novel Winning
If you want to follow along with my progress, I’ll post updates on Facebook and Twitter (and Google+ when I remember!), and maybe post an excerpt on my Westerman Affair novel page.
As always, I encourage people to participate in the event. As writers we should be writing every day, of course, but it is really fun to write on days when over 300,000 other people are writing as fast as they can all around the world.