Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes book birthday isn’t even one month old yet, but I’m hard at work preparing my next book Chosen for release in September.
Each of my books are like my children. While I love them all, they each have something different that tugs on my heart. With Twenty-Eight it was Rose. What’s not to love about Rose? When I think about Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes it fills me with hope and happiness.
Chosen was conceived and gestated in fear.
When I wrote my NaNoWriMo book that kick-started my writing career, it was a fairly easy going romantic suspense (full on love scene and all– it took more than a few glasses of wine to write that one) until I got to the end. Then the last two chapters were this dark gritty scene that came out no where. I’ll be honest and admit it scared me. What made my mind wander that direction?
As I waited to edit the previous mess, a new book idea came to me, innocently enough. One night I was cooking dinner and my son’s girl friend told me she’d been counting with my then four-year-old son Ryan. If Ryan touched her fingers, he could count, but if he didn’t touch her he wouldn’t say the numbers. I said, “huh, maybe he’s psychic and he touches you and sees the numbers in your head.”
Then my mouth dropped open and I nearly dropped the spatula out of my hand. There was my book.
But I needed more than a psychic boy (who later changed to seeing the future.) I would write a story about a mother trying to protect her son.
I could see from the beginning that this story could be big, but I could also see it would be very dark and edgy.
And that scared the shit out of me.
But my friend Dave loved the idea and encouraged me to at least try to write it. So the week before Christmas, I began the first chapter of Chosen. (Unlike most of my books, I knew the title before I started.) It had a car chase scene, which I really didn’t know much about, so I consulted with my then eighteen-year-old son who helped me work out the “choreography” and come up the the idea to get the main character Emma*out of the situation. I wrote and polished, and added and deleted and a week later I had my completed chapter which I sent to Dave and Brandy, my dedicated alpha reader. They both read it and emailed back immediately.
So I started the second chapter, my stomach a knotted mass of terror. And a full week later I sent it off to Dave and Brandy.
This is good. Keep going.
With each new chapter, my anxiety billowed until I could hardly eat, I had trouble sleeping. This book was too big. The characters lives so unfamiliar to my own I couldn’t do them justice, yet I slugged on, my alpha readers giving me encouragement and reassurance.
And then I wrote and sent off chapter ten, which contains a huge surprise that hits you out of no where, picking my fingernails down to the beds. Dave wrote back:
OMG. How are you going to top that?
My pit of fear and anxiety split open swallowed me whole. How WOULD I top that? Finally I sat down with myself and said “You’re doing this. You’ve gotten this far. What’s the worst that can happen? It sucks and you either let it go or fix it.”
I’d love to tell you that I saw the reason in this and I finished the book in a more peaceful state. What I can tell you is I saw the reason in this and it became my mantra. I felt completely out of my element the entire time I wrote the book, but I gave myself more slack for the fear.
Still, these characters caught me by surprise and grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go. I felt Emma’s fear and guilt over the life she provided for her son. I felt Will’s own guilt and inner struggle– the biggest surprise of the entire book. Will was supposed to be secondary character who became a main character and threatened to overshadow Emma. Will’s an overpowering alpha male that I continually had to reign in, but he had a incredibly interesting back story and his personal struggle ripped me to pieces at times. My characters’ pain became my own and the week I wrote one particular scene was one of the hardest of my life (Note: I ended up cutting most of it later. Kill your darlings.)
While Chosen isn’t a fun and lighthearted story like Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, it’s a child of my heart. Chosen is my first baby I was ready to send into the world. But more importantly, it’s the book that made me conquer my fear and push forward.
That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
*Emma: My youngest daughter is named Emma but I assure you that this is coincidental. There’s a reason for the name. Trust me. 🙂
Everything Emma Thompson owns fits in a suitcase she moves from one roach infested motel to another. She and Jake, her five year old son who can see the future, are running from the men intent on taking him. Emma will do anything to protect him even when it means accepting the help of a stranger named Will. Jake insists she needs Will, but Emma’s never needed help before. And even though she’s learned to trust her son, it doesn’t mean she trusts Will.
Mercenary Will Davenport lives in the moment. Hauling Emma to South Dakota should have been an easy job, but his employer neglected to tell him about Emma’s freaky son and the gunmen hot on her trail. Instinct tells him this job is trouble, but nothing can prepare him for Jake’s proclamation that Will is The Chosen One, who must protect Emma from the men hunting her power. A power she doesn’t know she has.
Will protects Emma and Jake on a cross-country chase from the men pursuing them, while struggling with memories from his past, his apprehension of Jake, and his growing attraction to Emma. Will’s overwhelming urge to protect Emma surprises him, especially since it has nothing to do with his paycheck and possibly everything to do with the tattoo Jake branded on his arm. Rich and powerful men are desperate to capture Emma, and Will must discover why before it’s too late.