I have written four non-fiction books on lefse and lutefisk, and now I have written my first fiction, a novel that will be published this summer. It is called Final Rounds: On Love, Loss, Life and Lefse.
You may notice that I dropped the Yes from the title. Too many words and commas with Yes included. That’s an example of how a book emerges and evolves with edits. I am grateful to have several readers who have given feedback and changed the book. And it is humbling to see how much better the novel gets with the work of Kathleen Weflen, who has edited all of my books, and Shannon Pennefeather Gardner, who has copy edited my last two books.
The drawing of the colorful bowls above by Heather Bassler Zemien is another example of how a book emerges and evolves. You saw an early sketch of the novel’s cover in a previous post, but the cover image has changed, which you will see when the cover is finalized (soon). Here you see a start—a messy, incomplete genesis—of mixing bowls used to make lefse dough in a chapter where Amaya, the 12-year-old main character, makes loads of lefse with her grandfather and Mrs. Taylor.
The point: The creative process begins with a mess of words and lines that form drafts and sketches that form beautiful illustrations and wonderful chapters in a book. Don’t judge the early mess. Keep working with it. Get help. Accept help. It’ll be fine. … I’ll be saying this to myself many time in the next few months before publication!