The ink isn’t even dry yet, but after negotiating a couple of details over the holidays we signed the contract this afternoon and it’s on its way back to the publisher at this hour. Now I officially have no business meeting for coffee and gossip or trolling for red-soled shoes or playing PathWords on Facebook. It’s like we’ve just been given a big honkin’ chunk of clay and we have four months to create the next Venus de Milo. Holy shit!

We spent some time over the break developing interview questions, and plunged in yesterday setting up our first few interview meetings and we even did our first very rough – almost “practice” – interview last night over the phone. Our secret weapon is this incredibly cool device called the Livsecribe Smartpen, which basically records speech and then links it to the notes you write. Let’s say you’re attending a lecture. You set the pen to record the audio, and you make notes in this special notebook that comes with the pen. As the person is talking about, say, the Hubble Telescope, you write those words in the notebook. Later, you can simply touch the words you wrote on the pad and the audio will play back right from that spot so you can hear what the person said about the Hubble Telescope. You can also upload the audio to your computer to review. It’s quite amazing technology, and I’m so thankful to my friend Kerri who suggested it for Ben as he started high school this fall. It has made a tremendous difference for him in being able to review classroom lectures and pick up information he may have missed in class due to his hearing impairment. We trialled our own pen last night during the phone interview and it’s invaluable for a project like this.

Today we spent some time up in our writing office – which Ben has sarcastically named “The Imaginarium” – mapping out the framework for the prologue and first chapter. Seriously, if you see me out doing anything other than typing on a computer or interviewing someone, wag your finger of shame in my face and ask, “ISN’T THERE SOMETHING ELSE YOU SHOULD BE DOING RIGHT NOW, YOUNG LADY??!!”

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