May 2014 — the start of a very long, very trying, and an amazing journey.
Blue Ruin began as an idea. A small spark in my brain. A moment of insanity, as I later realized. Why would anyone in their right mind want to write a dark fantasy series? Three books? Dozens of characters? 200,000+ words? Enough action/emotion/engagement to hold a reader’s interest for several novels? It wasn’t until the editing process that I realized I was in over my head. Drowning.
Writing was fun. Exciting. Adventerous. I was able to discover another world and morph it to my liking. I created characters that I could imagine being a part of the real world and some that would love to kill me if they had the chance. Creating characters was the most fun. They could be anything and everything that I wasn’t. Evil. Scandalous. Magical. Powerful. Desperate. Hateful. Lonely. But, it was also the hardest. Characters are stubborn. Willful. Defiant. And sometimes, you have to kill them. By the end of Blue Ruin, I had a graveyard of characters that didn’t make the cut into the novel.
Writing Blue Ruin was one thing…editing was a whole other animal. I spent two years refining, polishing, rewriting and more rewriting. I thought editing would be the easiest part. The story is there, what else needs to be done? But, I soon learned that it wasn’t what was there that needed work. It was what wasn’t there. During the editing process, my 70K novel blossomed to nearly 90K. Characters, plot points, dozens of scenes and chapters fell into the abyss of recycled material. New scenes, new characters took their places, and by the time I received my final manuscript from my editor, my novel was unrecognizable from what it had started as.
Through the help of my beta-readers and editor, I learned a lot about writing. Writing is easy. Writing for an audience is hard. There were times where I wanted to give up after receiving a bad review or realizing I still hadn’t gotten that particular scene right yet, even after rewriting it thirty times already. Those moments are crucial. It’s in those moments that you remember why you are writing — why you are doing any of this.
Pre-order The Phoenix: Blue Ruin — set to release on February 29, 2016