“They” say a picture is worth a thousand words…
This one, to me, is worth almost 200,000. That’s how many I had to write to get this thing in my hands.
Why so many? Well, this is The Book That Tried To Kill Me ™, aka: TBTTTKM-2 ™ (kudos to my friend Lisa Brackmann for coining that phrase; hers is the original TBTTTKM.)
I’d written Genie Knows Best and turned it in a few days before my deadline. (yay, me!) Unfortunately, it turned out that my editor didn’t like it. At all. Now, normally, there are a few points we need to change/clarify/fix and I do some revisions and the book is ready. But this one, for various reasons, didn’t work for her. So it was Back To The Drawing Board. Ugh. Can I just say that again? Ugh.
I had to start over. Had to come up with a different spin on the story, a different spin on the world, and a new way of doing things. The only things I kept from the original book were the main characters’ names, the love scenes, the basic idea for the world, and the ending. I love this ending; I truly do.
So, okay, maybe we’re talking 150,000 words.
Was this what I wanted to do? No way. Was it what I had to do? Yep. Am I satisfied with the result? I am. It’s a whole other story about the same characters, whom I love. Kal is an alpha male in a beta role, or maybe even a gamma one. I had fun trying to contain him within The Service he’s been in for four thousand years with the end in sight for him. Samantha Blaine was someone I wanted to help. All she wants is someone to love her for her (and not her inheritance/bank account) and to find herself being used at every turn… well, she deserved a happy ending, too. As did I. Honestly, I was never so happy as when I turned this new story in because it’s one thing to write a book under contract and know that it’s going to go into production; it’s quite another to write that book only to have to completely re-write it.
I haven’t really spoken about this bummer of a year writing this book because, of course, you want to put your best foot forward in the marketplace. “Sure, I write books and they all go on to win awards!” is a good image, but the reality is, writing and publication are hard work–and this is why you need an editor. Mine could have tried to fix the original version up with me, but who knows what the result would have been since she had such an adverse reaction to it. She wasn’t “feeling” it, and therefore, she couldn’t get excited about it. Trust me, you want your editor excited about your work.
So, I pulled up my big girl panties, took a deep breath, and started off on story #2 for this couple. And, like I said, I love the result. It’s a fun story, a lot of action with the largest cast of characters I’ve ever written. I had a blast writing the fight scenes (try orchestrating a fight scene with centaurs, trolls, leprechauns, dragons, and gnomes and keeping all those body parts straight!), and loved creating Harv’s lair that was inspired by Riley’s comment in National Treasure, “Who wants to go down the creepy tunnel inside the tomb first?” And, of course, I got to spend more time with Kal and Samantha and learned more about them, what made them tick. That journey is always fun, so I really can’t complain (though I did, loudly) about having to spend so much time with them.
And I recently turned in Leave It To Genie and am waiting for my editor to read it. You can bet (and the leprechauns in Genie Knows Best already are…) that I’m waiting with baited breath.
Now these ARCs go out to the reviewers and I have another reason to wait with baited breath to see if this version of Kal and Samantha’s story is as well received as Eden and Matt’s was (starred review in Publishers Weekly). That’s this business: hurry up and write, revise, and wait.