The Road to Nowhere

 the walk to Wayah Bald in the mist

the walk to Wayah Bald in the mist

Every once in a while, usually after a long revision, I need to take a few days to clear my head. My husband and I stayed in a cabin in Nantahala Gorge to celebrate his birthday  and so I could get in the right mindset to start my next writing project, the third and final Madman's Daughter book.

It may seem strange that I'm working on the third book when the first one just came out, and the second one doesn't come out until January 2014, but thus is the publishing world. I'm proud of the second book in the series, and I hope readers will love it too, but I'll be honest--it took a lot out of me. I don't know if it's the "second book curse" or that I'm juggling two series, but I was emotionally exhausted after writing the second book. Juliet Moreau's world is one of darkness and blood and moral ambiguity, and living in that dark world for so long (in my head) was draining. So now, getting ready to write the third book, all that exhaustion came rushing back up. I thought to myself that I couldn't do this, couldn't go back to that world, couldn't wrap my brain around even more challenges and evil people and darkness.

Then it hit me: that is the perfect mental place to be, as a writer. My main character would be just as emotionally drained and exhausted as I am. After all Juliet's hardships  in the first and second books, she'd be nearly at her breaking point, and the last thing she'd want to do would be face even bigger, more personal dangers...but she has to. Her story isn't finished. So in a way, challenging as it can be, I think I'm in the perfect place to write the conclusion to her story.

A few pics from one of our hikes this weekend, called the Road to Nowhere:


In the 1930s and 40s, several small towns were relocated when the TVA flooded Fontana Lake for hydropower. The town ruins are still down there, completely submerged. Part of the displaced families' compensation was a new road, which the government began construction of but had to stop for environmental and political reasons. Now the road ends at this tunnel in the middle of nowhere, hence it's name.

It feels a little like walking around in a postapocalyptic world: