Monday, November 09, 2015

I Wrote a Book

For the most part, I know everyone already knows this…but for those who weren't aware, yes I did!  I wrote a book on accident, actually.  I get asked all the time what made me decide to do it and honestly, I really had zero intentions of it getting this far.

Back in 2012, when life decided to deliver a flaming paper bag of shit on my doorstep on a daily basis, I tried to find a way to stop stomping on it to extinguish it but rather find a way to let that damn thing burn out on its own.
I wrote every day.  I found things that were funny around me and made fun of whatever I discovered and most of the time, it was me making fun of myself on this site.  You're welcome.

But how it happened, was a little like this…

I woke up from a dream and a 10 second portion of it stood out in my mind and wouldn't go away.  It was so vivid.  In my dream, a group of 4 of us were trying to run away from something scary.  We were in a dark and creepy cemetery that looked like one you'd find in New Orleans.  We couldn't escape and somehow I had the "means" to get us out.  I sat up in bed with the idea going over and over in my mind thinking, "Oh my god, that would be so cool if someone could do that."
At that point, I was still working at the gyms and Fuzion and doing what I could from Wenatchee…but I couldn't get the thought out of my head.

So, since it sounded like a book I'd like to read, I started to write it.

I wrote like a crazy person, typing every day.  I wrote a minimum of 1,000 words a day.  God, looking back I know it was significantly more than that.  I typed so fast as the story poured out of me.  I had no idea what was going to happen with the story, no idea who the characters were, who the antagonist was going to be, and if there was even a plot to the story!  I just wanted what I saw in my dream to happen to a character.  From there, my monster of an idea turned into a very loooooong story.

During that time, I was also pretty lonely.  I didn't have the kind of sex life I wanted and so I wrote about one I hoped to have…passionate, wild, and fun!  I often get asked if my book is like "Fifty Shades of Gray".  Umm, hell no.  A lot of those sex scenes seemed like they were cut and pasted together and that's simply not me at all.  Mine were detailed and graphic and exciting.  In fact, I had to clean them up a bit because I had to remind myself that I wasn't writing for Penthouse Forum.  (Hey, maybe I'll redistribute the book later with the unedited version for all you perverts!  Thanks for the idea, Rob.  Brilliant.)

Over time, my story started to have a life of its own.  Things happened that I didn't see coming.  Characters arrived that I'd had no intention to meet.  And maybe I killed a character I hadn't meant to kill…or maybe I let that one live.  There was no plan.

The weirdest part of this writing experience was how things that I wrote about started to actually happen.  I had been driving down one of the main streets in Wenatchee when I saw a guy who looked JUST like one of my characters!  It freaked me out.  I'd never seen this man before in my life, and low and behold he existed.  And out here, of all places!  A couple months later, I met a man who I spent time with and the way we got to know each other almost mirrored what had happened in my book.  Two characters in the story got to know each other the same way.  It hadn't hit me until months later when I read through it and discovered how weirdly similar the whole thing was.  Super bizarre.

Anyway, I wrote and wrote and people kept asking if I was going to publish it.  No.  Who would buy this crap?  I mean, it was a great story, but who the hell am I to even pretend that what I'd written was good enough for others to read from beginning to end?  I'd let some people read parts here and there and I would be told it's good.  The story is fun.  The sex scenes were really hot.  There are parts that were funny enough that made them laugh.  Good right?  Still, my lack of confidence got in the way…besides that, I wrote it for me.  It was my therapy.  I needed a pretend world to escape in, a pretend love life to to live vicariously through, and simply allow my imagination to reawaken after being dormant for so long because of the type of life I had been living for so long.  But enough people encouraged me to take it to the next level.  Okay.

I went to the local Writer's Conference and learned some things and then met with an editor and a publisher.  I was doomed with the editor because he specialized in non-fiction.  He did read my blog later and enjoyed it, but he didn't know how he could spin it to sell it.  No biggie because, duh, just come here to read it and it's free!  But I was also doomed when I met with the publisher.  I was the last one for the whole weekend to meet with her and she was half asleep and bored before I even walked in.  I was nervous as hell and felt like I needed to blow her away with my amazing story about witches and sex and blah, blah, blah.  As I explained my story, I started to hate it because I had no idea what the hell I was doing.  Also, it didn't help that I think she hated me as soon as she saw me.  It was a no-go.  However, she gave me pointers that I took into consideration later.
After that, I kept working on my story because I did love it and wanted to continue to be in that world.  The next year they had the conference, I went in with a very different approach.  I decided I didn't think I wanted to publish it.  I'd still go in and talk to the different publisher and pitch it to her, but then wouldn't care if she wasn't interested…again, this was my story and it was for me and I honestly didn't think my style of writing was all that great.
When I sat down with Jennifer, I told her about my story and my attitude was more carefree and blasé…when I finished, she was giddy.  "You just described my absolute favorite genres!!  I LOVE books like this, they're fun, they're sexy, and they are very marketable!  Here's my card…get in touch with me this week and I want you to send me the first 50 pages of your manuscript!"

Um, what?  I'd even warned her about my style of writing not being eloquent and she preferred that.  Huh??  So, now the REAL pressure was on.  I didn't plan for that.  That meant someone out there that I didn't know was going to read my crap and then I'd have to hear that it sucked and they'd made an unfortunate mistake and to please burn those first 50 pages of the manuscript and to do myself and the world a favor and never write another word again.  That didn't happen, though.  I received an email that said they enjoyed the story and looked forward to the rest.  Also, in that email was a contract for me to work with them on this book along with a W-9 for payment when that time came.
It may not be a "major" publishing company, but this was my first book ever.  How cool, right?

So, here I am a long time later, because to be perfectly honest, I had about 100,000 words to get rid of.  Crazy!  Remember, though, I wrote this for myself and just let the words fall onto the screen day in and day out.  I cleaned it up, sent it to my editor, she cleaned it up more, I cleaned it up more with her, my book designer did his thing, my proofreader worked on the finer details, and my book manager read it and loved it.  I wrote a book.  I WROTE A BOOK!!!  And the best part?  I finished it.  And now I'm working on book two and writing better than I did in the first one.  I can't wait to see where this one takes me and my characters.  But look at this…I'm all legit, now!

If I sell 5 copies, I'll be so happy…but I just might sell more.  So rad.


Unknown said...

So excited for you! You are going to sell a lot more than 5. I'm going to share it with every book group I'm in once I've got that pretty book in my hands!

Unknown said...

From Laura M

Melissa Almli said...

I just love this. I can't wait to buy it.

Melissa Almli said...

I just love this. I can't wait to buy it.

Heather Fenton said...

Ok, I gotta get a copy dear old friend.... I enjoyed reading how it all happened, with 3 daughters all of them BIG readers I'm sure I won't be the only one reading it! You are amazing!