As the millworkers sing in Carousel “June is bustin’ out all over…” Flowers are budding, birds are chirping, bees buzzing and as a recent grandmother to Ben,
Great aunt for the second time:
And recently revealed gran-to-be:
I have babies on the brain, literally and literate-ly.
They—Farmers in the know— say trees always produce best after a “hard” year (“hard” being either an especially cold winter or hot, dry summer). Which might be the reason for the largess . . . although I’m not questioning or complaining. Rather, I’m simply, joyfully, reveling…and pondering gestation:
Elephant gestation takes 547.9 – 669.6730 days (the longest period for mammals).
Salamanders—tiny as they are—about the same. And, considering it, size-for-size, mother discomfort, bulkiness, effort-wise, probably the same elephantian experience too.
From conception to birth cat's gestation takes 58-65 days. (No wonder they're such hussies!)
Donkeys, "Jennys" 330-440 (with lots of variables), camels take 410ish.
As for novels??????
Cause for my literary revelry stems from a cluster of new books by writer friends. With one exception, all by classmates of mine from VCFA. As I have been there through all of these books since inception, in some cases offering a shoulder, always watching admiringly, I’ve declared myself “auntie” to them and as such entitled to muse:
I’ll begin with the exceptional Russell J. Sanders, who I first met back in/around 2000 when he was a newly retired High School English/Theater teacher and wanna be author at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston. Russell recently celebrated the birth of his second novel, which is garnering excellent reviews, Special Effects (Dreamspinner Press, 2014): More about Russell:
How long did Special Effects take from idea to sale?
About 2191.45 days . . .
Erin Moulton’s third novel came out this June. This being her third, one might think the whole “birthing a novel” thing would have lost its novelty for her. Maybe that’s why Erin “made things interesting” this year, but combining the birth of her newest novel, Chasing the Milky Way, with the birth of her first human baby, Tucker! Oh, yeah, and if that wasn’t excitement enough, timing it all to coincide with the date her new manuscript for her work in progress was due. More about Erin:
Jennifer Wolf Kam's path has been by award-hopping to publication! A 3-time finalist for the Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing, Jen first won publication of her ghost story, White House, in Hunger Mountain. Spectacularly, publication of her debut novel came as a result of writing 2 of 5 finalist in the NAESP 2013 Children’s Book Contest. More about Jen!
Sarah Tomp, author of my often lauded, put-it-back-in-print fav, The Red, White and Blue Goodbye, had a relatively easy time of it with her debut moonshine novel, My Best Everything, which “walks the line between toxic and intoxicating” The gestation time was only 1 1/2 years=547.9632996 days! More about Sarah:
Tamera Ellis Smith, who’s writing credits include a first-person essay in BREAK THESE RULES: 35 YA Writers on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself, welcomes her debut novel Another Kind of Hurricane, August 2015. (Publication is scheduled to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.) Here's More about Tam!
So, Tam, how long did it take to write Another Kind of Hurricane?: Almost 9 years . . . 3287.18 days, with “A lot of starts and stops along the way. Sometimes big stops.”
Last but not least for this crop: Teresa Harris, author of the spunky picture book, Summer Jackson: Grown-Up, won two prizes (one for humor) for this novel-in-progress while we were still at VCFA.
Teresa's WIP, acquired by Clarion, is forthcoming (I could not find a pub date on the web.) So by my calculations, gestation time: 5.6 years=2045.36 days. However, if you count post-sale as gestation,* the interview announcing the sale was Feb of 2012 and Teresa’s book hasn’t been published yet, gestation's is ongoing. So make that 2921.94 and counting . . . More about Teresa
Why the disparity?
I like to think of it in shark terms. Sharks are K-selected reproducers, (as are, cats aside, the other animals noted above.) Rather than producing a large number of poorly developed offspring, “they produce a small number of well-developed young.” In this way offering their offspring the best possible chances of surviving. Additionally, in these animals, birth can be delayed depending on a variety of external pressures.
That’s why I’m thinking shark. Maybe it isn’t’ about how badly we want to publish . . . what brilliant writers we are . . . the fantastic story premise we’ve dreamed up . . . Or about everyone, anyone, our expectations. Maybe there are other forces beyond our control determining how long it takes.
* The question of whether a book is “gestating” in that time between being sold and publication is up for debate. Might this time be the equivalent of Novel neo-natal?--It certainly adds to the w-a-i-t-i-n-g t-i-m-e. . . tick-tock
Care to give a little listen?? JUNE IS BUSTIN' OUT ALL OVER on Utube