Next Question, Please, a guest post by Pete Hautman

At nearly every school visit some kid will ask me, “How long does it take to write a book?”

It’s a fair question. In middle school I’d have asked the same thing. But, for me, it’s a tough question to answer. I could tell them I wrote the first draft of INVISIBLE (2005) in five weeks. Or that SWEETBLOOD (2003) took me twenty-five years to finish. Of course, neither of those things are 100% true. SWEETBLOOD sat in a drawer, on and off, for most of that quarter century, and INVISIBLE went through several additional drafts over a one year period.

To really talk about how long it takes to write a book, one must decide what “writing” is, and when the process begins. The origin of my latest book, THE RAT QUEEN, occurred when I was eight years old, not long after reaching what the Roman Catholic Church calls “the age of reason.” It was a recurring nightmare from my childhood: