After a brutal summer and an August and most of July full of 100+-degree days, we finally have a break, with a string of days only in the low 90s, even sometimes in the 80s. It’s the kind of weather they consider “summer” in more civilized climates, but here it’s a taste of fall. We’ve even had a bit of rain, the first in about six weeks. I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can, since we’ll be going back to summer weather, though possibly not more 100-degree days.
My body has gone into “fall” mode, so I’m sure it’ll be disappointed. I’m enjoying sitting on the patio in the mornings for as long as I want, until I feel like I need to get to work, without having to retreat indoors because it’s too hot. I walked to the library yesterday without feeling like I would die from heat stroke. I may even begin cooking again instead of just eating a lot of salads. Last night, I mixed up a batch of refrigerator biscuit/roll dough and made cinnamon rolls with it for breakfast this morning. It’s baking season again. Next up will be soup. I feel like I’m trying to cram all the fall things in this week before it gets hot again, in case this is all we’ll get.
Fall is my favorite time of year, but we don’t get much of it here. We might get a week like this one in September, then summer returns, and then we might get a week or two in October. It doesn’t start really feeling like proper fall until Thanksgiving, maybe. By then, Christmas has taken over.
I’ve found that a lot of the books that are the first in my series seem to take place in September. Some of that may be because I tend to start new projects in August or September, and I write the season I’m in. September is also a good time to travel, since prices tend to drop after Labor Day, and that means my research trips tend to come around that time, so I write the season I researched. That’s why Enchanted, Inc. starts in late September. In a week or so, it will have been 20 years since the trip I took to New York to research the setting before I started writing, and I wrote that time of year because it was what was vivid to me. But I think my tendency to set new series in September also has something to do with the sense of new beginnings that comes around the start of the school year. New school year, new book — it’s pretty much the same in my mind. In a couple of works in progress, the September setting means there’s a ticking clock—they have to deal with things before winter sets in—so it’s actually relevant to the plot.
The book I’m working on now is set in the spring, which is a real mindset shift. I was going with the time of year when someone was likely to be hungry, and spring was a difficult time before hothouses, good food preservation and storage methods, and transportation that allowed food to be brought from other parts of the world. In the spring, not enough new things had grown to provide much food, but the food stored over the winter was running out. I wanted a character to be on the edge of desperation and not able to find much to eat, so spring it was, and it fits with an idea of the character gradually blossoming as the world wakes up. Though I’ll admit that habit keeps trying to kick in, so my brain wants it to be fall. I’m writing a festival scene now, and although they’re decorating with garlands of flowers, my mental image keeps trying to be of fall leaves and corn husks. Another book, brain. We’ll do a fall book in this setting, I’m sure.