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The Ninth Day

Berkeley, California, 1964. While the Free Speech Movement rages, Hope, a shy, stuttering teen scarred by an accidental LSD trip, plans to keep a low profile. Risk compounds reticence when she meets a time-traveler who claims that Hope must find a way to stop a father from killing his newborn son in 11th century Paris.

Companion novel to award-winning Blue Thread.

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“The story is riveting… and, speaking as someone who was arrested in the Free Speech Movement, the Berkeley sections feel true and authentic.”

—Margot Adler, NPR correspondent

“Reading this book… [reveals] constellations rich with story, myth, and magic.”

—Jen Violi, author of Putting Makeup on Dead People

Ruth's Blog: The Interlace Place


In case I haven’t mentioned it before, the Janey II building is under construction right next door to the original Janey apartment building. As you can see from this picture, there’s all-done Janey on one side and work-in-progress Janey on the other. Will they be identical? Probably not. I figure the blueprints are very similar, but the builders learned a bunch from constructing the first apartment building, and they’ll use that knowledge in building the second.

That’s how I feel about my companion novels. Book Two aka The Ninth Day is similar to Book One aka Blue Thread. Both have similar blueprints. Time-traveling Serakh appears and intertwines two teenage girls living centuries apart. Book Three aka Book Three shares in that blueprint, although one time period is in the past and the other is yet to be. What I learned in writing Book One went into writing Book Two. […]

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Seeing as it’s the end of October in Portland, the rain is back. Nothing new there. But what is new on my street is this wooden canopy over the sidewalk, a neat way to stay dry thanks to the construction crew of the Janey II. There’s a lot of building activity on the upper floors of these apartments-to-be, and I expect the wooden canopy has nothing to do with precipitation and everything to do with protecting pedestrians from objects raining down from above.

Book Three has no such canopy. I sometimes wish it did. I sometimes wish that the scenes I write in later chapters wouldn’t drop inconsistencies and other pesky problems on earlier parts of the narrative. I sometimes wish that all aspects of every character and plot would stay just as I originally conceived of them months ago. How much easier writing Book Three would be!

And how boring. […]

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How did it get to be October? No matter. The Janey II guys (yup, all guys as far as I can see) are working away. I am working away. They make their usual construction noises; I make mine.

But then one day last week, I heard a series of screeches that forced me to separate myself from my computer and rush to the window. OK, I didn’t HAVE to. I was ready for a break. Be that as it may, I looked outside at the Janey II crew. And there was this flash. You can see it in the photo, that bright white dot at the corner of the building. Welding. The bond that stays bonded. The union of all unions. Zap!

I strive mightily for such a zap, a flash of literary clarity and beauty that says, “This is exactly what I mean to tell you, dear reader. This is the hub, the gem, the essence, the oh- baby-you’re-so-fine.”  I write hundreds and hundreds of words, and then rewrite two-thirds of them, and then maybe, if it’s a really could week, I might get a mini-flash, the kind that rounds out a scene or describes a character perfectly. […]

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