Family Planning

How many children do you have?

I have two grown sons. They are close in age and were only a year a part in school. Many people thought I was crazy for having them so close together. But, the younger son "played up" for most sports, so they were on the same team; other than a year here or there they went to the same school. Basically, I was going the same direction for both of them.

I marvel at the parents who have boys and girls at various ages engaged in a myriad of activities. Friends with children across the spectrum -- preschool, elementary, middle, and high school -- amaze me. How does a parent mentally and physically meet the needs of children at such varied stages of life?

Since writing books is akin to giving birth, I think I'm beginning to find out!

My oldest "child," Josiah, physically arrived on the scene in May. Since then, it's been a whirlwind of events, marketing, and promotion.

The current middle child, Laughing Wolf, has been at the publisher since February. I've been responding to questions and requests from the publisher, but now it's back on me; I'm at the "last chance" stage to make any changes to the manuscript. Soon, I hope, I'll be approving cover art.

Add to the mix, my current baby, Bethy. I spent much of the spring researching the details of her story. I even took a road trip to one of the primary settings. I finally started putting words on the page in mid-May. I've been a writing fiend. Some days I put in six or eight hours of work.

The rough draft was finished last week. But, let me be clear: it's a very ROUGH draft! I'll be devoting many, many more hours before the delivery of this baby.

While I'm juggling the various stages and needs of each of these darlings, my brain has already moved on to the next conception. This one is taking a tremendous amount of family planning because I'll be switching gears and writing for adults. The romance involved with sparking this one to life is consuming my creative soul.

My question to you is: what's the "perfect" amount of space between children? How do you meet the needs of each creation?

Finally, shameless plug for my first child: Barnes & Noble book signing and fundraiser for the High Plains Library District!

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