Concepts and Beginings

Writing Girl Beneath Stars has been a very different experience from writing Girl Behind Glass. Firstly, hopefully, I know a little more about the writing process.

I started writing Girl Behind Glass back in 2011. I had a particular scene, and a concept in mind, but little else. I had already attempted and discarded the concept a few times before, but I decided to plunder along and see what happened. It was over a year before I showed anyone the first draft. And then, it took another year before it was ready to publish. Once I published, I quickly realised that it wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. There were so many things I was yet to learn, so many mistakes I had made, but I do not regret it. If I had waited, it would have never happened. Pressing that ‘publish’ button was terrifying–and obviously before I was ready–but if I had not done it, I would still be sitting here, typing away on my computer, filled with self doubt and a longing to attempt something which I didn’t think was possible.

The first scene I pictured was the one when Bracken comes into the Mudder’s camp hurt and injured. Both he and Willow had no name, no background, I only knew that he loved her, he had bloodshot eyes because of something–I wasn’t sure what–and that she was torn. The rest came as I was developing my world behind the glass.

Nuovo was inspired by a muesli bar wrapper. Strange, I know.  My children’s school had sent home a notice informing parents that to reduce rubbish, all food in wrappers needed to be sent to school within a resealable plastic container and removed from their wrappers. All in the name of the environment. I ignored the notice, but I started thinking about a world where the environment, the planet, had become more important than the people, and where people were kept separate from nature in order to preserve it.

Skeleton Trees

But with most things, the power that it offered those in control was too much to resist, and what started out as good intentions, soon twisted. My world was supposed to be background to the plot of the story, but the more I delved into it, the more enamored I became with the concept. It became less outlandish, and when I started doing a little research, I discovered that a nutrition based food supplement already existed. My ‘nutrition pills’ weren’t as far fetched as I thought. (To find out more about this see soylent.) In fact, I decided to name my pills after the developer as a nod to some distant relation to the concept.

Girl Behind Glass was supposed to be my practice story, a one off that I wasn’t too invested in. But the more I worked on it, the more attached I became. You can’t spent that much time with people–fictional or otherwise–without developing some strong feelings. So soon, Willow, Bracken, Luke, Devon, and the rest of the characters, became a part of me, and the story I was to practice on turned into something I was excited about.

It was supposed to be a one off. A standalone novel. But when I wrote Boy In Uniform as an extra to the story line, the characters evolved in my mind, and the next story started to emerge.

Willow was changing. In Girl Behind Glass she is unsure of herself and her place in the world. When she discovers that life is not as she has been led to believe, she is left shaken. In Girl Beneath Stars, she begins to discovers herself and what she believes in. She’s confronted with different ideals and she must decide who she wants to be.

It is supposed to be the conclusion to the series, and it is the conclusion to Willow’s story, but already another story in the same world is piecing itself together. It won’t be the next book I write, in fact, I may never write it, but the idea is there and one day I may see where it takes me.

Dream comes true for author

Today there was an article about me self-publishing my book. When the reporter came over I was nervous, and I’m pretty sure I got a case of verbal diarrhea, because although I said a lot of things, I barely remember them. Things like that tend to happen when I’m nervous. I knew she was coming over so I should have been prepared, but I have two options to me in cases like this.

1.) Think about what to say.

2.) Don’t think about what to say.

You see the problem is, when I take option one, I end up twisting myself into a state of panic. I worry about things so much that in the end I want to back out of it. Believe me, this has happened many times. So although it may seem a strange approach, not thinking is serving me a little better.

The reporter was a very sweet girl. We simply sat on the couch and chatted. I talked so quickly she could barely keep up with writing the notes in her shorthand style. Once she left I stressed over the small bits of conversation I could remember, but I wasn’t even sure if the article would make it to the paper, so I put it out of my mind.

The next day the reporter brought back a photographer. Once again that flash of panic settled into the pit of my stomach, but I made the conscious decision just not to think about it. I know some of the people reading this may wonder what I had to be nervous about, and why I would feel panic, but this is part of me, and it always has been. My self confidence is simply not there, but I have the fortune/misfortune that my lack of confidence manifests in what looks like confidence.

When I woke this morning my Facebook and messages were filled with people congratulating me on the article.  I quickly opened up The Southland Times on my phone and was filled with relief that it was a nice and complimentary report that concentrated on the self publishing aspect. I really never had anything to worry about, which is usually the case.

The thing that struck me most was the headline. DREAM COMES TRUE FOR AUTHOR. I looked at that headline, and even though those were words that had come out of my mouth, seeing them in print made me realise that they really were true. It had been my dream to become a writer ever since I developed a love of reading.

As I grew up I placed this dream in the same category as becoming a rock star or an astronaut. Nothing more than a dream. Something I would think about but knew I could never accomplish.

Life took over and even my love of reading waned. Then came along the Twilight Series. Yes, I know a lot of people hated the books, but a lot of people loved them. I was one of those people. I found myself up at 4am in the morning still flicking through pages, desperate to read more then so sad once I’d finished.

Image found on Facebook
Image found on Facebook

This love of Twilight made one of my dear friends sign up for a writing course taken by author Deb Brammer, and convinced me to sign up too. It was while taking this course, I realised my dream may not be that far fetched at all. It was also this course that introduced me to my writers group Southern Scribes.

Skip forward a few years and after many stops and starts, stressing and learning, I had a complete manuscript. My writers group encourage me to attempt self publishing and now seeing that article has reminded me that my dream has really come true.

I am an author. I have written a book and people have bought it (and even enjoyed it!)
I’m still caught up in marketing and trying to get my book out there, but I also need to take a breath and realise that the little girl’s dream of writing a book has come true.

To see the article click here.