Monday, February 17, 2014

2013: The year of The Wounded


2013 was a strange year for me. After writing two books in very short time frames (Eight weeks for The Woodlands and 10 weeks for The Wall) in 2012, I was busy doing the querying thing and trying to find a publisher. Soon my writing hands got antsy and decided to dive in and start writing the third book in the series while I waited for replies from agents and publishers. I thought it would be done in a few months just like the others. I never thought The Wounded would take me almost 12 months to write.

It was at the very beginning of tapping out the words to The Wounded that we lost a family member, very suddenly and violently. It’s not something that’s easy to describe: The moment when five missed calls on your phone results in shocking, heart-breaking news. All I know is, I felt at a loss, saddened and left wondering why we didn’t see it coming. It haunted me, still haunts me. Images are not easily forgotten.

Writing was the one thing I could use to escape that sadness. And I did. Writing the first 45,000 words in the following month.

Unfortunately, my writing escape was ripped from me in April of that year. I have battled back problems for many years and this episode was the last straw for my body. I was unable to walk, drive, or do much of anything except lie flat. With three children to care for, I was extremely fortunate that my family stepped in and helped me. But I could write, right? Wrong. I was put on nerve medication, which made me feel dopey and unfocused. I tried to write but it was a struggle. The Wounded sagged in front of me, waiting to be written.

It was just before I was told I would need spinal surgery that I received a contract offer on The Woodlands. It was exciting. And some good news was sorely needed. It was a great contract but the publisher was very new and very small. I held off on telling them yes until after I had my surgery.

Spinal surgery…well I’m sure you can guess it was no picnic. It was painful and the rehab was really hard. I was a puddle of sore nerves and tears. When I was finally released from hospital I returned home thinking, finally things can go back to normal. 

Well things have not been normal since I got back but mostly in a good way.

On a whim, I decided to submit The Woodlands to another small press that was more focused on YA and had already published several books, Clean Teen Publishing. I stood at my kitchen bench with the shiny new laptop my husband bought me, my back still bleeding and wrapped in bandages and pulled up The Woodlands.

I stood there for two hours, carefully re-writing one scene that had always played on my mind as not being 'quite right'. Then I sent my submission to Clean Teen.

They wrote back to me, requesting the full manuscript in two hours…TWO HOURS!! I was thrilled, giddy in fact.

A contract offer was forthcoming and then my world really sped up. I was still in the painful process of recovery. Each step was a bit of a milestone. When I managed to walk up my driveway to retrieve the mail, I was like “YEAH!!!” But as I was dragging my sorry body around, my online life was going crazy. Blog tours, cover art, excerpts, edits, Facebook pages…

Slowly my body started to catch up with the rest of me.

The Wounded still floated in my consciousness and was now banging on my skull asking to be written. But there was so much to do to promote The Woodlands and then The Wall. Not to mention three kids who finally had some pieces of their mother back and were demanding some attention.

I split myself all sorts of ways and started writing again. I wrote the remaining 50,000 words in the follwoing months. It felt good. It made my year mean more to me. I couldn’t help what happened. But writing The Wounded was therapy. It marked a hard year. One I’m thankful to have survived.

--- Death stung. Friendship loosened the barb. Love would heal it. ---
- The Wounded


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