I Have a Hangover (No, Not That Kind)

Last week, my fellow Miss D Keenan Powell wrote about her emotions after completing a manuscript (Woe is me! – Miss Demeanors). To quote her: “I float around for three days in the state of afterglow.” In the comments, the words celebration and cloud nine figured prominently.  

Not me. I just turned in the manuscript for A Collection of Lies, Book 5 in the Kate Hamilton Mysteries, and I’m in mourning. The book actually took eleven months to write, but the final three months were intense. I spent almost a year with those people in Devon, England. How can I blithely say, “Goodbye—nice knowing you?”


The feeling of depression and sadness after finishing a book has been called a book hangover,  an experience similar to a romantic break-up or the death of a loved one. That goes a bit too far, in my opinion. Nobody died—well except the victims. But I am grieving.


My head tells me to begin plotting out a new book. My heart is stuck in the old one.

It takes time for me to feel comfortable in a new book, to get to know new characters. I want to linger in that old manuscript—polishing, revising, tweaking, enjoying the company of old friends—when what I need to be doing is settling down and making myself at home in the next book. It will happen. I love that moment when the previous book fades into memory and the new book gets its hands on me. It takes time.


Like life, reading books and writing them requires a series of hellos and goodbyes—letting go of something so you can take hold of something new.

Do you find it hard to get into a new book?

As a writer or a reader, which book or series are you still mourning?


  1. I know how you feel, both as a reader and a writer. I read all of Tana French’s books in one fell swoop and when they were over I felt so lost. Plus she doesn’t seem to have anything coming out soon. I keep checking.

  2. Connie, first, congratulations on finishing and submitting your manuscript! I can’t wait to read it. Second, yeah… It’s hard to say good bye.

  3. I start plotting the next book in my series before I finish the current manuscript. Nothing heavy. Choosing a title, thinking of a two or three sentence descriptor, and maybe the unfortunate victim. Maybe a must have scene. I do this during breaks from working on the current manuscript, and by the time I finish, I can’t wait to start on the new one. Works for me, but maybe not for everyone.

  4. Imagine my surprise when i finished writing my first standalone after writing a “series of series” when i had known i would return to a cast of characters who began to feel like family. I really mourned the loss of Olivia in Gone But Not Forgotten to the point i conjured an idea for a series. Unlikely ti happen but it made me feel a little better.

    1. I never thought of it, Michele, but that must happen a lot with standalones. At least with series, you know you can schedule another visit (if your publisher agrees, of course).

  5. Adrian McKinty finally released his last Sean Duffy which I’ve been waiting for for years. Now I don’t know if I want to read it because he said it’ll be the last.

    And I miss George Smiley so, so much.

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