Tomorrow is the 15th of October – in my part of the world, anyway. It’s my release day! And since you will all be reading Still Waters very soon, I thought I would tell you the story of its conception.
First of all, I have to tell you that I’ve always thought of myself as a children’s fiction writer. I especially like Middle Grade fiction featuring quirky oddball characters and real life issues. Children’s writing is safe. I’m a parent myself, and I’m familiar with most of the conflicts and emotions that kids experience in their ‘Middle Grade’ years. Children’s writing has other advantages, too. You are free to be a bit silly with your characters, for example. Making your story realistic isn’t as important as making it believable. And obviously, there are no sex scenes or other embarrassing bits so you don’t have to worry about your family and friends reading it. I was quite comfortable in that genre and thought that was where I would always stay.
I was wrong.
In May this year I was bored with editing the Middle Grade manuscript I was working on and found myself putting it off day after day. I also wasn’t sleeping well. During one of my long insomnia nights I started writing a chapter of a book in my head. It was just for fun and I never intended to write it down or share it with anyone. But when morning came, the story was still there. I typed it out in between making school lunches and checking homework and then promptly forgot about it.
A couple of days later I read over it again and on a whim I shared with the members of an online book club that I’m part of. Many of the women in the group love New Adult fiction and I thought it might be a bit of a laugh to show them my chapter.
Over the next few hours we all had fun adding to the story and chatting about New Adult books. Someone suggested we all write a chapter each. Someone else suggested I write another chapter and share it with the group. So I did.
And what happened next couldn’t have surprised me more. I found myself writing the story of Hartley and Crew for hours and hours a day, my children’s manuscript completely forgotten. I didn’t know much about New Adult Romance books and I had no idea if I was doing it right, but I felt compelled to keep going. I had no storyline or plan. I just wrote and wrote, and then I wrote some more.
It took me six weeks to write the first draft. I quickly edited it, shared it with some friends, and left to go on holiday.
When I returned from my travels I had my game face on. It was time to get down to business with this story of mine, and see if I could turn it into a real book. I edited. And I edited. Some wonderful people offered to proofread it for me. I edited and proofed some more.
Family members helped build a website and showed me how to use social media to market the book. My husband spent hours on Photoshop making the cover and ‘teaser’ pics for Facebook. A group of readers reviewed the book ahead of the release date so that I would have some feedback for new readers.
So when you’re holding your copy of Still Waters in your hands, you will have my words and heart in front of you, certainly. But you’re also holding the collective love, encouragement and support of a band of people who helped me to make my book a reality.
Thank you, to everyone who helped make my dream come true. You know who you are.
And to all the readers out there, I hope you love Crew and Hartley as much as I do.