People might wonder what I’ve been up to since moving to Europe last fall. In some ways little has happened, in other ways a lot. My answer is a bit cryptic, so let me explain.
In September I returned to Europe, specifically to my hometown Solingen near Düsseldorf and Cologne. I’d been gone for nearly 31 years. Why? Various reasons come to mind. I wanted to be close to my elderly father, feel more secure in a nurturing society, but most of all, I wanted to become a truly bilingual author.
Capturing the German Thing
To date all six published novels are written in English. Returning to Europe allowed me to reconnect with the German language and kindle my ability to write in German. Within months I started translating my bestselling biographical novel, Surviving the Fatherland, into German. During this process I felt like I was treading in one spot. Not advancing, not writing anything new, just plugging through 370 pages of a story I’d written and rewritten dozens of times. Often, I felt so much closer to the English language than to the German. I kept plugging, kept reading German books, kept filing and tweaking one sentence at a time. Winter stretched, became elastic and seemed to never end.
Then in May of this year something amazing happened. I finished. It felt like I’d climbed a mountain without adequate gear, but I made it through. All of a sudden I felt like I’d done a lot.
My One-Lane Mind
Strange, right? Well, it’s all in the perception and our own expectations. I had been wanting to write a new novel—more about that in a minute—and instead I revisited my old manuscript. It felt like I wasn’t progressing and my creative side begged for attention. I expected more from myself. Why couldn’t I write a new story AND translate the other. Sorry, impossible. I’m not a multi-tasker. I only do one thing at a time if I want to have a chance to do it well. Of course, how well shall be seen. After another review, I’m now ready to work with an editor.
Which editor will depend on whether I’ll find a literary agent here in Germany and/or a publisher. That’s the next step. And while I wait I finally get to do something different and creative again.
A New Project
I’ll be writing a story about a young woman losing her mother during the prohibition and taking off to find her missing brother, The Italian’s Daughter. Last summer I’d stopped writing because I got stuck. The story line was not progressing and I couldn’t think of how to continue. I guess my subconscious was busy while I translated and came up with new ideas.
So I’m back…in another chapter. In full swing. A new novel with a cool female protagonist: Sam…short for Samantha. I’m still curious where she leads me. As you know I’m a pantser, so I don’t outline. My characters create their own stories. So much fun!
Trust in Yourself
So while it sometimes appears as if we don’t progress, we often do in ways we don’t understand at that moment. Allow yourself to trust in the process, allow your mind to do its thing. Allow yourself a break. Things are moving forward. Your subconscious is powerful and extremely smart.
Believe in it! Believe in yourself!