Thursday, May 22, 2014

Writing (and Re-Releasing) Wicked Obsession

I wrapped up the edits for Wicked Obsession this afternoon. While reading the novel cover to cover, I ended up completely engrossed in the story. Written in 2011, this is the book where I believe I began to truly grasp the technique of subtle layering and the importance of characterization.

The actual writing of the book is a bit of a blur. I originally sold the story on proposal, and right before I began writing it, my husband's dad called to let us know he had an aggressive form on cancer and he had rejected going through more chemo. Our family went through a very dark period then, and here I was with this book I had to write. That after the news, I didn't want to write. Nevertheless, I had a contract, and I was on a very short deadline - three months to write, revise, and submit this proposed vampire novel.

To this day, it feels as though I wrote Wicked Obsession on autopilot. I vaguely remember applying butt to chair and going through the motions. It also remember it was tough to write. The first month after the proposal was accepted, I barely wrote a word. We had just gotten the call, and just about every conversation hubby and I had around that time was about death or dying, or how we would get to D.C. on short notice. How were we supposed to handle the death certificate and the funeral arrangements when we live half way across the country?

The following month, I knew in order to finish this book, I would have to viciously guard my writing time. I'd already wasted a month talking about writing it and growling at my family because I wasn't writing. One day, while sitting at my desk and feeling hopeless, I realized I needed to simply get out of my head, get out of the way of the process, and just write the stupid thing. Let it free flow and hope for the best. By then hubby and I were already preparing for the inevitable trip to Washington D.C. to take care of his dad's final business and to clear out his room at the Veteran's home.

During this time, I also had to sever ties with an old friend and her little sister, both of whom I loved, and still love, like they are my sisters. We grew up together, went to school together, played together since we were children. It wasn't an amicable split. That was a great big stake to the heart, losing those friends. The hurt and confusion, it's like a bad breakup. A really bad breakup. Because you care. You can't help caring. Loving someone like your sister then having to let go because they just didn't know how to be respectful about your pain and what you're going through is a horrible experience. What else can I say except the communication and timing was all wrong.  

It was a very miserable time for me, and every time I thought it couldn't get worse, I'd remember...that book. I have to write that fucking book. Finally, two months in, I put aside the exhaustion and the near-crippling anxiety and announced to the family I wouldn't be chatting on the phone during the day, going on outings, or doing anything for the next few weeks until the draft was written. And just like that, I sealed myself in the writing cave to complete my vampire novel.

I wrote for six to eight hours a day. I didn't beat myself up or agonize over every word choice. I finished the draft in about a month. The final month, month three, I did a down and dirty one-pass revise and edit. It was brutal. I was about a three scenes from finishing when I got the call that my father and law had passed away. I called my husband at work to let him know. Two hours later, our household dissolved into a flurry of action and chaos. There were arrangements to be made, and they had to be taken care of quickly. I ended up asking for an extension for the book. I was granted the extension with zero fuss, but the date of release had already been slotted, so I locked myself in my office and quickly finished it.

Sending this book off was like...catharsis. A burden had been lifted. It was definitely a hard won accomplishment. My first publishable (and later published) novel. Completing this book was one thing that hadn't been taken from me in that awful flurry of events leading up to, and directly following, my father in law's death.

Completing the re-edits of the book today...another moment of catharsis. There is a lot of emotional pain in this story. Not surprising given what was going on in my life when I wrote it. That said, I love these characters. I love this story. If I had to chose only one of my books to remain in print, Wicked Obsession would be the book I'd want to be remembered for.

I got the rights back on Wicked Obsession at the same time I got the rights back on all my other books, and now it's almost ready to be re-released. I'm very proud of this book. Not just because this is one of those times when I feel like I got the characters and the story right, but because this book was a test of sorts. I walked through the fire for this one, and I'm glad I did.

All that's left to do now is a light proofread and formatting and it will be ready to upload. As per the usual, once the book is available, I'll post all the appropriate links.

In the meantime, I have a fabulous line up of author appearances coming to the blog in the days and weeks ahead. Bonnie Vanak and Samantha Lucas will be kicking off a featured weekly author series. Each author will be talking a little about their writing process and/or their experiences in self-publishing. It will be both interesting and informative, so I hope you'll drop in to say hello.

If you're an author and you're up for telling others about your writing process and/or sharing a little about your self-publishing experiences, I'd love to host you here on the blog. There's a contact form on my website. Send me an email, and maybe we can set something up.

In a few day I'll be posting a follow up video where I talk more about CreateSpace covers. I'm waiting for my latest batch of proofs to come in. Once they're here, I'll share my latest experiences with you and show the results of my latest cover switch.

That's it for now. Until next time, happy wishes! 

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