Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson here. This is the second of two posts taken from emails I received from Lea during the time she was working on Thread and Buried, the ninth Mainely Needlepoint mystery. At the same time, she was being treated for pancreatic cancer. She was a writer’s writer and this is the story of how she persevered to leave us with one last book to read and enjoy.
March 4, 2019
Edited several chapters yesterday, but only did a couple of pages of new writing. Today I’ve done ten, I think. Going to take a break and then maybe start another chapter. I’d hoped to get to page 200 before Wednesday’s chemo, but I’m only at page 180. Yup, got to dig out more words today. Thank goodness I’ve felt well for the past week! Not sure what will happen after the chemo, but hoping I get some more days.
March 9, 2019
I’m finally over 200 pages in my book due April 1–so, clearly, have a ways to go. My goal was to finish the first draft by the 15th and then have 2 weeks to edit . . . not sure I’ll make that, though. With chemo . . . have been a bit weary and some of my side effects are back. Sigh. My neighbor did suggest a better way to kill someone so there are some revisions right there.
March 17, 2019
Rough week, but today’s pretty good–I’m still aiming at getting this book done by April 1. At the moment editing the first 200 pages or so (since I changed a few of the characters along the way.) I keep thinking that my oncologist as well as my editor said they wanted me to finish this book–so I know time is tightening.
2nd email same day
Got through 150 pages of book (editing and adding and etc) today–Hope to do another 50 pages tomorrow. Or maybe a few more. I think my total right now is about 225 and I haven’t gotten to the part where we disclose–voila!–the murderer. Have two weeks to get it done but am aiming to finish most this week since no medical appointments. One day at a time.
March 22, 2019
Not having a bad day here. In fact, just arrested two perpetrators, and now have to write a short “wrap up” chapter. It’s been a productive week, which is good, because although I still have (of course) editing to do–next week includes LONG tests (the sort where you have to drink a lot of junk for 90 minutes before they even put in an IV) and chemo, so I suspect I won’t be at my best. But I can still edit . . . I hope! (Have locked the cat out of my study. She wants to be too cozy and sit on my mouse . . . and then reach out to scratch me if I start keyboarding. Enough, cat! She likes it when I stay in bed and watch CNN and Netflix all day, and I may be doing that soon enough. But not today!)
later the same day
Just drafted acknowledgements. This book is a bit shorter than the others.
I have a week to edit.
March 26, 2019
Been through the manuscript twice now for edits–tomorrow will check one thing I want to make sure I was consistent about, and then hope to get another read through before I send it in.
March 27, 2019
Monday I had scans (MRIs) as I’ve been having every couple of months and today I had chemo and talked with my oncologist. Bottom line: for the first time I have (small, but) new lesions. I haven’t forgotten that the usual life span for stage four pancreatic cancer is 6-12 months. I’m at the 9 months mark. (My doc does remind me . . . indirectly. He’s kept saying, “you really should finish that book soon.”) The couple of days after chemo aren’t dependable–could be no problem–could be a lot. I’m hoping I’ll be ok enough to edit the manuscript 2 times more and then send it in next Monday–my April 1 deadline. Hurrah!
March 28, 2019
I’m at home, editing. Trip to post office later will be my only time out today. But so far, feel pretty good. Often the day after chemo I’m OK (because of the steroids)–tomorrow may be rougher! And I want to get through the manuscript at least twice more.
2nd email, same day
I’m still feeling OK–editing like crazy!
3rd email, same day
Guess I’m nervous abut my manuscript; it’s taken me so long to write, and I’ve changed several plot elements along the way, which is one reason I’m trying to be careful about editing! Not that we aren’t always careful . . .
April 2, 2019
Good news! Editor John S just approved the book I sent him Saturday. Said he couldn’t wait to read it and loved it
April 4, 2019
Good news! Just heard from John S that Kensington has moved up the pub date for Thread and Buried to December of this year. (At one point they’d moved it out to June of NEXT year.) So–I’m more or less back on schedule. Love that!
Lea Wait lost her battle with pancreatic cancer on August 9, 2019 but she left behind a legacy of wonderful books, including Thread and Buried. It will be released next Tuesday, November 26, 2019, in paperback and ebook editions. If you click here, it will take you to links at all the major online booksellers. You can also ask your local independent bookstore and/or your local library to order a copy.