Novel numero SIX!

So I just turned in my sixth novel!  We haven’t even begun to edit it, and the title is still TBD, and it’s still early days (because it won’t go on sale for a year or so)–but I have that giddy, in-love feeling you get when you’ve just written something with some real magic in it.  I wish I could share the WHOLE THING right now, but I’ll have to settle for this little excerpt below:

 [Excerpt from Katherine Center’s sixth novel—slated to go on sale SPRING 2017!]

Twenty minutes later, he pulled up the parking brake beside an airplane hangar at a private airfield in the middle of nowhere.

I looked around. “You can’t be serious.”

He leaned in. “Are you surprised?”

“Yes and no.”

“Just pretend. Just once, I’d like to surprise you.”

“Fine. I’m shocked. I’m awed.”

“Don’t pretend that much.”

“Can we go to dinner now?”

“Not yet. I want to show you something.”


He turned off the ignition. “If I could tell you about it, I wouldn’t need to show you. Would I?”

He came around to my side and took me by the hand, and then he pulled me behind him, bent over, tiptoeing, around the far side of the hangar.

I followed him in a state of cognitive dissonance—knowing exactly what he was doing while insisting just as clearly that he couldn’t possibly be doing it. “Are you sneaking me in here?” I whispered.

“It’s fine. My friend Chip did it with his girlfriend last week.”

I tugged back against his hand. “Dixon. I can’t!”

“Sure you can.”

“Is this—illegal?”

“I just want to show you my plane.”

“It’s not your plane, buddy.”

“Close enough.”

I had zero interest in seeing his plane. Less than zero. I was interested in wine and appetizers and candlelight. I was in the mood to feel good, not bad. “Can’t we just go to dinner?”

He peered around, then turned back to me. “Anybody can go to dinner.”

“I’m cool with being anybody.”

“I’m not.”

Then, with a coast-is-clear shrug, he pulled me out across the pavement and stopped in front of a little white Cessna. It looked like the kind of plane you’d see in a cartoon—wings up high, body below, and a spinny little propeller nose. Very patriotic, too. White, with red and blue stripes.

“Cute,” I said with a nod, like, Great. We’re done.

But he took my shoulders, and pointed me toward the cockpit. It hit me that I was supposed to get in.

I took a step back. “What are you doing?”

“Come on,” he said. “Let’s go for a ride.”

Nope. No, thanks. “I don’t want to go for a ride.”

“Yes you do.”

“I’m afraid of flying. As you know.”

“Not with me, you won’t be.”

“It’s not about you. It’s about flying.”

“You just need the right pilot.”

I was shaking my head—half disbelief, half refusal. “You’re not even certified.”

“I’m as good as certified. I’ve done everything there is.”

“Except take the test.”

“But the test is just to see what you’ve already learned.”

“Dixon? No.”

“Margaret? Yes. And right now before they catch us.”

The force of his insistence was almost physical, like a strong wind you have to brace against. He wanted to do this. He wanted me to do this—to show faith in him, to believe in him. It wasn’t a test, exactly, but it was still something I could fail.

I wasn’t a person who failed things.

I was a person who aced things.

It felt like a big moment. It felt draped in metaphorical significance about bravery, and trust, and adventurousness—like it would reveal something essential about who I was and how I’d live the rest of my whole life. Saying no to flying right now somehow suddenly felt like saying no to every possibility forever. Would I be a chicken? Would I shy away from possibilities? Would I let my worries hold me back? Would I always refuse to rise to the moment?

In a way, I never really had a choice.