A holiday album and a novel are the best shots on Pat Benatar's future docket.
The veteran rocker tells Billboard.com that she and husband Neil "Spyder" Giraldo have already started writing and gathering material for the Christmas collection, which they hope to begin recording after coming off the road at the end of August with a release likely for 2012. "We love Christmas," Benatar says. "We have a lot of traditional things, but also some kind of jump blues version of Christmas songs, a couple originals -- it'll be a mixed bag of things. We'll do a couple with horns again, which will be fun; we haven't really done anything in that way since (1991's) 'True Love.' "
Benatar says she's thinking of including some of her existing holiday songs as part of the set, including the 9/11 charity single "Christmas in America" and the standard "Please Come Home For Christmas." "There's a lot of stuff," she notes. "The recording will go quickly. We'll do it the old way -- cut the tracks together, not a bunch of overdubs. We know how to do that pretty well."
As for a new studio album, Benatar -- who last released "Go" in 2003 -- isn't making any predictions. "We're writing all the time," she says. "We have a huge bulk of material but...It's me. I'm the one who doesn't want to make a record. Spider's like, 'Come on!' I just like to do other things. But we'll get to it."
Benatar is also planning to use her time off the road this year to work on her first novel, which will follow last year's publication of her autobiography, "Between a Heart and a Rock Place." Benatar says it's about the second coming of Jesus Christ, a topic that "just interests me. It's one of my hobbies, so I just started writing this story. I've been putting it together for almost 10 years." Benatar describes the book as "historical fiction" set in the modern day, and it will be published by Harper Collins.
"There's no deadline or anything," Benatar says. "They're great over there. They're like, 'Just do it. When you get it done, give it to use and we'll fly with it.' But I'd like to (write) it in the fall."
Benatar's summer tour wraps with shows Aug. 27-28 at Old Country Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., and she'll also perform at the State Fair of Texas on Oct. 22 in Dallas.