For the last several weeks I’ve been a woman. Well, not in my daily life, but in my writing. I’ve been changing the main character of my Seattle mystery Emerald City into a female. It’s affected every dynamic in the book and made me much more aware of what women go through – and even more so in 1988 when the novel is set – every day. Seattle has always been a progressive city, and it was back then, too, but it’s never been perfect. In some ways the book is a love letter to the city where I lived for 20 years, as well as to its music scene, life and to The Rocket, that most glorious of music papers. But it’s become a love letter with a different edge to it in the rewriting. It’s now back with the publishers, the people who first suggested the sex change, so I’ll be waiting for their reaction and hoping they love what they read. I’ve even started on the follow-up, set six years later, with the first chapter complete (and I don’t plan on continuing it for a while yet). Right now I feel I can breathe again, if only for a few days until I receive a critique on the new Richard Nottingham novel from my most trusted reader. But I need that little space, as my son arrived – from Seattle – for the summer. For a little while I can enjoy him every day.