by Louise Erdrich

Dear Book People,

There is writing books, and then there is booking it around the country to talk about your books. I'll be doing the latter soon enough. But right now while my mind is clear and I am still at home, I thought it best to set down the reasons I wrote three books -- it seems odd that they are all appearing in the next three months. That is something of a publishing fluke, and doesn't mean I'm industrious in the least.

The first book that will appear is Chickadee, which is for young readers. This book is part of the Birchbark House series. Omakayas has grown up and her twin sons are the main characters. Do they get into trouble? Who would bother writing about children unless they got into trouble -- had life and death adventures, ate dead mice, fell into a snake nest, were kidnapped, nearly perished of longing, stole horses and were nearly sucked dry by vicious hordes of mosquitoes? That is what the book is about.

When I reread The Antelope Wife four years ago, I realized that I had to rewrite this book. It was about something else entirely, and actually had a plot. I didn't want to abandon the book because it won the World Fantasy Award. I treasure that award. So I kept the pieces of the book that fit together with several new pieces that I wrote -- and I kept the same title even though now every other book is about some professional male's or some animal's wife or daughter. I am unabashedly satisfied with this book now. Rewriting it was like have a 20,000 piece jigsaw puzzle in the wrong box -- from the cover, you think you are building a mountain scene. But working along your picture turns into a raucous carnival.

And then there is The Round House.

I can't talk about The Round House, or why I wrote it, quite yet. It is still too personal. After I start jaunting around reading from it here and there, it will lose that quality and belong to its readers. But right now this book is still stuck inside of me where it began -- or maybe Joe is, the narrator, a thirteen year old boy forced to save his mother.

Happy Dog Days,