Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reality is Setting In

So, I started writing Shattered in Oct 2012. Like all the things I do I went overboard with it, writing all hours of the day and night. The story was in me and I had to get it on paper. My first draft was finished in a month. Three months later, aside from the characters and basic plot, the book was unrecognizable. I’d written the first draft, then read books on how to write books, and realized mine sucked. I spent the next three months refining it.
Then, I published it. I decided to go indie because it’s more my style, I’m determined, and I couldn't get signed by an agent. I now see that as a blessing, but I did try mainstream first and failed.

I don’t feel weird about any of that, not upset that I failed a few times. I just feel super awkward now that it’s out there, published.
I’m an introvert, which means I live in my own head. My world exists within my mind, my body, and my emotions. Pretty limited, I know. I can reach out and do all the time, but I’m most comfortable in my own world. I’m super self-conscious too – leftovers from being an ugly kid/teen. I don’t like showing negative emotions. I suppress them and work through them until they go away. If I’m upset, I’m REALLY upset. Anyone who knows me knows I like to be happy. I seek happiness. Shattered isn't a happy story, and I’m a little shocked by how dark it came out.
I told you all that stuff about me to say this – my soul is in those pages. Not all of it, not even most of it, but there’s a part of me that took up residence in that collection of words that can now be called a book. It’s out there, and I want people to read it. That’s actually terrifying. I didn't write it to be clever, or deep, the story existed in my head and only I could set it free. Now it is.
One of my favorite authors, Diana Gabaldon, gave advice that the books we write are just for us, they ARE us, and to read people’s cold-hearted reviews on Amazon or whatever would only cripple our creativity. (I’m paraphrasing big time.) I know that’s true. I suffered from 15 years of writer’s block. Couldn't write more than a grocery list or an email. I don’t want people to hate it/me.
I've put my work out there for all to see. I’m worried what my parents will think, what my church friends will think, will they think I’m some sort of sicko? When my fellow Christians hear that I wrote a book they instantly assume it’s a Christian book. It’s not. Of course God is God in my book too, because that’s so much a part of my beliefs and my soul that I couldn't even make up a fake world where God was not Himself. My book has gore, violence, attempted gang rape, serious fringe topics, sex, cursing… in other words, it’s pretty close to real life in that it’s a bit dirty.
That’s what has me feeling awkward the most, I think. People assume that Christians only read Christian books, only listen to Christian music, only think good, clean thoughts. Not true for the majority of us, I’d wager. I like books with different paradigms. I love Diana Gabaldon’s books because she presents God and faith with respect, without me knowing exactly where she as a person stands on the issue. Her books make mine seem rated G. I like that, being rated G. I’m not trying to be something I’m not in my books, and I’m not ever going to. I’m pretty rated G. Maybe PG-13 when drunk.
My point, in this bizarre ramble, is that I’m feeling weird. It’s like I just entered a room full of authors and all I have is my one book as street cred. There are giants of literature and thought there, and here I am swaggering in with my little stack of pages. I fell like I’m standing up and saying, “Hi, my name is April, and I’m a bookaholic who decided to join up with all of you to provide sweet book highs to our hungry bookaholic brethren.” I don’t want to cure anyone of a love of books. I want to feed the need. I LOVE books, and I love finding new authors that make me think and feel in ways I’m not capable of doing on my own. I can live a hundred lives all in my little head. I recently (like last night at 2am) got over my addiction to the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. I was seriously addicted, but it’s finished so I have to get over it. I went through all five books in less than 2 weeks. No joke. Couldn't get enough. Loved the ending. I got to want things like JZB and wonder if I went to Dublin, would I see more than most could like Mac?
I want people to devour my books like that. I want them to reach the end of the first book and scream because they have to get the next book NOW! That’s what I did with DG's last book, An Echo in the Bone. I was listening to it while cleaning the kitchen and it ended, and I screamed “NO!!!!!” because it was so open-ended, such a horrible thing to do to me, leaving me stressed out! That’s what I want to do, and I’m still having withdrawals waiting for Written in my own Heart’s Blood. I’ll have to read the paperback because I doubt I’ll be able to wait for the audio book.
So, that’s it. I’m a noob in an art as old as time. I’m honored to be given the chance to color the world with prose, to share pieces of my soul with all of you. Reality is setting in. I really did it. I wrote a book, finished it, put it out there, and I’m working on book 2. I've found my calling in life. It’s an amazing feeling. Join me in the Elemental World by diving into Shattered, book 1, The Legends of Rune series.

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