The Internet. Cellphones. Tab. Tretorns. It’s sort of shocking, but the world has undeniably changed.
Updating three novels—without changing them at all—was a tremendous challenge, but when you’re nineteen, and you’re stupid enough to decide to write a book, it doesn’t occur to you that it might be very dated someday. Actually, it doesn’t even occur to you that it might be published—by an editor who maybe should have thought twice—so, you’re not inclined to make sensible plans.When I wrote The President’s Daughter, I was Meg’s age. Now, in the wake of Long May She Reign, I’m the President’s age—which means that I really need to start dressing in a more presentable manner.
But, I digress.
I shudder to disclose that all three books were written on an ancient manual typewriter, which means that they didn’t even exist on a floppy disk somewhere, and I had to retype about twelve hundred pages. Which took forever.
It was pretty easy just to have Meg go off and check her email every now and then, or use a cellphone instead of a landline—although, granted, in Meg’s case, it’s a super-secure, high-tech satellite communications system. I should probably have had her do more texting—but, it would have gotten in the way of the story, and been pretty boring, to boot. But, throwing it into a key spot in Long Live the Queen felt, to me—your mileage may vary—as though it added some extra emotional resonance to the scene.
It never even crossed my mind that the Plaza Hotel would turn into multi-million dollar condominiums for people who probably only spend a week or two in New York once a year—even though, sadly, that is what has come to pass.
But, you know, the nominee-to-be and her family should have been at the Waldorf in the first place. I like it much better now, and think it’s a lot more fun this way—especially when Meg and her father pretty much want to smack the Nominee-to-be for being so utterly unimpressed by her opulent surroundings.
However, I wasn’t going to cut Joan Jett. No way. Not a chance. Never happen. I also figured out a way to keep The Brady Bunch—and even throw a nod in the direction of my beloved Hill Street Blues. Preston is possibly a little bit younger than we thought—because events in later books made it pretty clear that he needed to be. The Soviet Union is now old news—or, maybe not, after all. The Berlin Wall fell, but things really haven’t improved at all in the Middle East. And—I have to say it again—we still haven’t elected a female President.
On a more positive note, between 1982 and now, the Red Sox have won the World Series.