MY WORK SCHEDULE by Nancy Springer

I’m just about always writing, seven days a week pretty much all year except maybe Christmas, travel days, and emergencies. I get grumpy and anxious if don’t write. Writing is my fix. If I am between novels, I suffer withdrawal while attempting to fill the hole in my life with catch-up correspondence, resurrection of old work and other writing-related ploys.

That said, writing still leaves me with plenty of time to fill, because I can write only a few pages a day. I remind me of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, a gourmet, who grieved that one must wait so many hours before the next meal. In his case, the stomach must digest; in mine, the brain must reboot.

So here’s the way a typical day goes: I flump out of bed at no terribly early hour, spend the usual time in the bathroom for the usual purposes, let the dog outside for similar purposes, feed the cats, then the dog, then myself. After giving my cereal bowl to a cat willing to clean up the remaining milk, I pour myself a huge mug of Diet Pepsi (my caffeine; I never learned to like coffee), head into my office and boot up my computer. Note that I have not dressed. I am still in my nightgown, slippers, and, in winter, a bathrobe. This protective clothing renders me unable to answer the door or run errands. Besides, it’s damn comfortable.

Maybe more importantly, the nightgown means I’m still half asleep and dreaming, in a kind of fugue state that lends itself delightfully to writing.

So I write. Disregarding the standard advice to just get something down on paper, I try to write final-draft-quality prose in first draft. This is hard work, and my brain gets tired. After the first hour or so, I usually go back to bed, where it is no trouble to fall asleep again. I wake up a half hour later (almost exactly and almost invariably) knowing changes I must make and how to tackle the next paragraph or two. Then I write for the rest of the morning, one to two hours depending on how it’s going. On a good day, I write three pages; on an exceptional day, five.

I’m tired again and need to be revived, but this time I do it with a shower. I get dressed, have lunch and maybe run errands. Or if my brain is enthusiastic and sputtering with ideas, I will go back to my writing in the afternoon or evening, but this is not usually the case. Generally my wellspring of story takes until the next morning to refill.

So I have plenty of time to kill in any given day, and that can be a bit of a problem. I hate housework. My teen years were spent cleaning motel rooms, which means I SO don’t want to do laundry, make beds, or blithely flit hither and yon dusting ANYTHING. I like to sew, crochet, craft and paint, but sadly, it seems as if my pointy head can handle only one project at a time, and that would be the book in progress. Even more annoying, while I’m working on a novel, I can’t be reading one. I used to go horseback riding every afternoon, but a broken ankle put an end to that. So now I spend some afternoons lunching with friends and/or hanging out at the public library, but mostly what I do to pass the time is yard work (when it’s not too stinking hot), reading nonfiction sometimes vaguely relevant to research, solving Sudoku, spending time in the Writers’ Bermuda Triangle of the Internet (Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail) or watching reruns of The Mentalist.

So there you have it. A couple hours in the morning, every single blessed morning, with only occasional deviations to include afternoon or evening. This is the grueling schedule that has produced a ten-page bibliography. Go figure.

About the Author:

Nancy Springer has passed the fifty-book milestone, having written that many novels for adults, young adults and children, in genres including mythic fantasy, contemporary fiction, magical realism, horror, and mystery — although she did not realize she wrote mystery until she won the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America two years in succession. DARK LIE is her first venture into mass-market psychological suspense.

Born in Livingston, New Jersey, Nancy Springer moved with her family to Gettysburg, of Civil War fame, when she was thirteen. She spent the next forty-six years in Pennsylvania, raising two children (Jonathan, now 35, and Nora, 31), writing, horseback riding, fishing, and birdwatching. In 2007 she surprised her friends and herself by moving with her second husband to an isolated area of the Florida panhandle, where the birdwatching is spectacular and where, when fishing, she occasionally catches an alligator.

Find Nancy online at,,1000015705,00.html,,9780451238061,00.html Dark_Lie_Nancy_Springer!/NancySpringerNovelist

In this gripping psychological thriller — smart, chilling, and unrelenting — Nancy Springer establishes herself as an exciting new suspense writer with a distinctive voice and some surprises up her sleeve…

To their neighbors, Dorrie and Sam Clark seem a contented couple in America’s heartland, with steady jobs, a suburban home, and community activities to keep them busy. But they’re not quite what they appear to be. For plain, hard-working Sam hides a depth of devotion for his wife that no one would suspect. And Dorrie is living a dark lie — beset by physical ailments, alone within herself, and unknown to those around her, following the comings and goings of the sixteen-year-old daughter, Juliet, she gave up for adoption when she was hardly more than a child herself.

Then one day at the mall, Dorrie, horror-stricken, sees Juliet being abducted, forced into a van that drives away. Instinctively, Dorrie sends her own car speeding after them — an act of reckless courage that pits her against a clever, depraved killer, and draws Sam into a dogged, desperate search to save his wife. In a confrontation that unites mother and daughter in a terrifying struggle to survive, Dorrie must face and conquer her own secret, tormented past.

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