My debut novel is coming out next fall. That seems a realllllly long time away, but there are a lot of behind the scenes tasks that have to be marked off before a book is released. For example, I had to fill out this author questionaire while I was working on revisions. One of the questions was, “Who is going to read your novel?”
It sent me into a complete panic attack. Because…who IS going to read my novel? No one. And if anyone does, they will hate it for ALL the reasons or WORSE, it will be tepid and forgettable and even my friends won’t be able to make it past the first chapter and then they’ll avoid me because they don’t want me to ask how they liked the book. These brain weasels had me sitting on the kitchen floor crying. I put off tackling revisions because if I didn’t work on the story then it wasn’t my fault if someone didn’t like it, right?
I managed to bash the brain weasels and acknowledge that it’s true: NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO LOVE MY BOOK. AND THAT’S OKAY. It’s honestly okay. There will be one-star reviews (oh please, don’t let there be one-star reviews). We all have different tastes in reading and tv shows and music. My agent believed in me. My editor believed in the story. My family kept telling me they were proud of me.
So, why DID I enjoy writing the book in the first place? Here’s my Top 10 REASONS THAT I LOVE MY BOOK (remember David Letterman’s Top 10 lists?). No spoilers.
10) The park ranger is subversive. He subverts the old order in favor of survival and then he subverts the new government. He recognizes the intent behind a certain territory’s fear rhetoric from the beginning. For such an affable guy, he really does have his own set of rules.
9) My protagonist is a mom. Her son is both her weakness and her strength. She would do anything to keep her son safe…including changing the world.
8) Greek mythology is popular. Most people are familiar enough with Roman, Norse, and Egyptian myth to advance in Trivia Crack. But, I wanted to dive into the cosmology of the ancient Sumerians and the stories that came from the Tigris-Euphrates river valley.
7) The world I’ve created has zombie horseshoe crabs.
6) It also has a Jewish motorcycle gang.
5) Cancer affected our family. It was real and scary and isolating and humbling. I understand why some readers would want to escape into fantasy and keep this disease locked out, but I admire cancer warriors and I understand their families and maybe seeing Adam with his bald head and his neutrophil counts and his resilient spirit will resonate with someone who needs to be seen.
4) There’s a dragon. A real-live dragon. She’s fierce and beautiful and selfish and cruel. You’re going to love her. Just…be careful.
3) When I taught Intro. to World Mythology at University of Maryland, one of the essay topics was to compare/contrast Inanna (Sumerian) with the later Ishtar (Babylonian). I had a blast imagining how the Mesopotamian pantheon would manifest post-Digital age.
2) Adam is eleven years old. He’s a cool kid and I got to work with my own son through different drafts as we discussed what Adam might or might not do. Ultimately I had to save some of my son’s suggestions for the sequel because, without meaning to, Adam was taking away from Rachel’s story and trying to go off in his own direction. A reflection of my son entering the teen years?
1) The number one reason that I love this novel is because it is imaginative and wild and a little unruly. Like a first born child, it is surrounded with the energy and excitement and expectations that come before a parent has really experienced that insane sleeplessness of having an infant or handling a toddler tantrum in the grocery store. I have a lot to look forward to: the cover real, the book launch, the first book signing. My goal is to keep the brain weasels muzzled and enjoy the moments.
Bonus: I think it’s funny that I can’t call Walking Through Fire by its initials.
I hope you enjoy Walking Through Fire, but you won’t have to avoid me or make excuses if you don’t. I promise not to ask for proof that you’ve pre-ordered (unless it is part of a promotion), or ask if you’ve read it, or what you think. (But, I’ll appreciate it if you leave an Amazon or Goodreads review.)