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Humans are tribal by nature. Our first tribe is our immediate family; from there, our tribes spread out in overlapping circles of connection and mutual interest: extended family, friendship, community, work, hobbies, music. A band is a tribe; so are their fans. So is a baseball team—or as it is sometimes more aptly called, a club.

All of the above has been lurking on the edges of my consciousness over the course of the last several weeks chez Warburg, a period during which I’ve done no actual work on the new book, but an awful lot of processing and storing away. On the surface, it’s been a blur of wedding and graduation festivities, accompanied by all the usual joys and complexities of family gatherings. But underneath? Below the surface, the raw materials continue inexorably to fuse together, moment by moment, day by day, transforming into fuel.

The novel I’m working on now, a sequel to Believe in Me, is about tribes—the ones we’re born into, and the ones we choose. It’s about that eternal search for connection, and how we sometimes find the most meaningful ones where we least expect to. It opens—right now, at least—with a contemplation on family that begins with this question: “What is it about blood that compels us?”

It’s a variation on the question that lies at the heart of the story I’m still in the process of shaping and polishing. What would you do for family? Anything? Nothing? It depends? And further, if the only family you had ever known was gone forever, what would you do, how far would you go, to try to find, or build, a new one?

That’s—to borrow a phrase from Mark Knopfler—some heavy fuel. It’s just about time to fire up the engines again.

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