In case you don’t follow me on Facebook or twitter. . .and why don’t you, really, I’m lots of fun and occasionally amusing. . .I finished my latest book UNDENIABLE last week.
UNDENIABLE is Rafe’s story; it’s a spin-off from my very first books, the YA quartet The King Series. And since I don’t have a mind like a steel trap all the time, and since I was a) writing about a character whose identity was firmly established in both BREATHLESS and RESTLESS and b) writing a book that took place concurrent with ENDLESS, I ended up having to check facts and look up passages in those books while I was writing.
That’s a dangerous thing for a writer. With very few exceptions, I’ve noticed that most writers only grow and improve the longer they keep publishing books, so glancing back at earlier releases might be a little frightening. Let’s face it: given the opportunity, most of us would just keep making the book better, no matter how many edits it takes or how much our formatter hates us.
I definitely found a few things I would have changed in those books. However, what struck me even more (and is probably telling about WHY I would make those changes) were the self-snapshots I found within those pages.
Whether we like it or not, our current lives, circumstances, emotions and mindset affect what and how we write. So when I look back at FEARLESS, I remember the exhilaration and excitement of writing my very first full-length novel. I’m taken back to baseball practices for my son (who was 8 at the time and is now 13–if you’re a mom of sons, you understand the vast difference!), to orthodontist appointments for my now-18 year old daughter, to hours at the Borders in Ocoee (now closed), because those are where FEARLESS was mostly written.
I remember who I was in 2008. I was still dealing with the new and fresh loss of both of my parents at a young age. My husband had just begun seminary, and my oldest daughter was dating someone seriously for the first time. All of those experiences are in those pages in one way or another.
Each book has a piece of me, and not only that, it holds a piece of me as I was when it was written. That makes them my stories, as much as they are the characters’.
Someday I’ll look back at UNDENIABLE and smile, thinking of who I was and what I was doing in 2014.
Because that’s just what writers do.