Along for the Ride

In Sarah’s Words

A lot of people were surprised when it was announced that I’d have a new book coming out in Summer 2009, only a year after my last novel, Lock and Key. I can relate. It was kind of a shock to me, as well.

I wrote Lock and Key while I was pregnant, and edited it in the last few months before my daughter was born. Writing and editing is never that easy for me, and when you factor in the hormones and all the other fun stuff that comes along with carrying a baby, it was quite a wild ride. Suffice to say, I was more than ready to take a big, long break from writing to focus on being a mom. Or so I thought.

About three months after she was born, though, this idea started to come to me, bubbling up in my sleep-deprived mind. I was up at all hours, feeding the baby, trying to sleep or trying to stay awake, and it got me thinking about the night, and how it can seem so long or so short, depending on what you have waiting for you in the morning. I’d look out my window at three or four a.m.—times I was never coherent before motherhood—see a light on in the distance, and wonder who else was up, and why. There was a whole other world at night, one I’d been completely unaware of, and it made me start thinking about the people who chose to live in it, and how they found themselves there. That’s where Auden’s story began.

Some books are incredibly hard to write. Most are, actually. But this one, for me, was a little escape once in a while, and I was more grateful for it than I expected. I wrote Along for the Ride in my daughter’s room, while she slept downstairs, and in the guestroom, while she babbled to the babysitter. I stole half hours here, afternoons there, taking what I could get and using it to get more, and then more, on the page. And when I got stuck, I’d often look out the window and see one of my husband’s friends go zooming by on a bike, taking flight on one of the dirt jumps in my backyard. It was a crazy and chaotic way to write a book, and not at all the kind of structured, methodical approach I’d always used before. And you know what? Somehow, it just worked.

So I might be surprised to find myself here, with a new novel, so soon after the last one. But more than anything, I am grateful. This is the story I was clearly ready to tell. I can’t wait for you to hear it.