You know you would think after finishing four published novels and many more unpublished novels that starting a new novel would not be difficult but the truth is it is like riding a bicycle the first time every time. Some would say this is not true and that it does become easier. I will say this: writing the same type of novel becomes easier but to write something truly new and different without relying on the same old devices and crutches is like learning to write all over again. I think the only way writing really works is when one throws all that one has learned overboard and opens oneself again to the inspiration of the divine, the thrill of the discovery, and the agony of possible defeat. Only then can one have a chance for revelation, ingenuity, the miracle of originality. I believe learning to write again is the only way for the writer to remain honest and not cheat and take refuge in the safe harbor of others wakes. This is very difficult. It is more difficult if one has thrown a few books onto the dusty shelves of libraries. These books tug at you as you attempt something new. These books say, "look here, do what you know, just change a few things around, have a glass of wine and quit all this brain twisting in the futile pursuit of writing something new and different.You've done it three times now. Why try it again?" I often ask myself this question as I sit and face the blank screen and feel my novel is a rock gathering steady moss on a very steep incline. I must have already given up on the new novel three times, declaring, it doesn't' work. Give it up! But then I return the next day and sit back down to learn anew. I suppose that is why one takes it on in the first place. There is something very humbling about starting a new novel and all the ego gets quickly washed away with the thought that maybe your talent has just vanished over the next hill. Then, slowly, maybe it's the third time in a week...the flame flickers then begins to catch. You fan the flames and suddenly you are on a steady burn. You remember why you came in the first place and the world is right again. You are writing.