This past summer, I wrote the newest novel about Bat Garrett (which, for now, is nameless because I keep rejecting all of my own suggestions). Writing it was just about as close to total joy as I think I can expect this side of heaven.
I enjoy writing (it’s why I’m thankful that I’m called on to write a newpaper column every week), but what I enjoyed most was visiting with Bat Garrett again. I wrote my first Bat Garrett novel (the genesis of story that became “The Nice Guy”) more than twenty years ago–almost thirty now. The original versions of the other Bat novels were written close to twenty years ago. While Bat’s shown up in some of my other writings since then, this was the first new work entirely about Bat I had written in more than two decades.
It was like visiting an old friend. I enjoyed delving into his character, and developing the character of Jody. (Jody, I think, becomes a much more fully realized character than she’s ever been before, which means I’m going to have to go back in and tweak the other unpublished Bat books–which, chronologically, follow this one–to make sure she still matches the woman in this one.) What made it difficult, though, is that this book is set about nine months after the events in “The Nice Guy” and, while I’ve aged and (hopefully) matured in the almost three decades since then, Bat can only be 3/4 of a year older (and not noticably more mature).
It’s been a couple months now and I’m getting that itch to get back into this unnamed novel (see my previous blog). I want to experience this story again. Of course, I want to correct the mistakes, too. But mainly, I’m just looking forward to living this story again. I hope when you read it you’ll feel the same.