Saturday, 16 June 2012

Baby

I've just hit send to get what I think is the final edit for Blackbrooke over to my publisher and had to pour myself a drink. The acknowledgements and dedication have gone over too. And suddenly, all is quiet.

Well, not completely quiet. I've got Book 2 taking up a lot of headspace with its rowdy ideas and drama. Sometimes the noise gets so loud I just want to lower my head onto my keyboard and let out a groan.

"Hell hath no fury like your second born!" My yummy mummy friend said to me recently.

Yes! I agree. No, I don't have children but I have...a book. Something I've placed my absolute heart and soul into for the last eight months.

The more I thought about each step of the way, the more the comparisons couldn't be denied (DISCLAIMER TO MOTHERS: yeah, seriously, I'm not comparing typing a book to squeezing a child out of my body but you get the picture. Please don't kill me...).


Conception

Drunk.

All great conceptions are booze fuelled aren't they? I'd hit the red wine with Uno and turned to her, halfway through the night.

"Let's watch Twilight!"

We used to (and still) do this a lot. Oh, it's not just Robert Pattinson, it's...well, it's Carlisle as well for me.

It was during that time, I was hooked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer again and comparing the two was boggling my brain.

Vampires.

In Buffy, they were grotesque and her job was to kill them. They burned up in the daylight, stake through the heart etc. However, in a heart-wrenching twist of fate, she falls in love with Angel, a vampire.

Oh dear. What a bummer.

And you'd have to be living under a rock if you're weren't aware of Bella's story. Falls in love with ridiculously stunning vampire boy who can't step into the sunlight because he'll explode into a cloud of....I'm sorry? What's that?...Oh, my apologies...*ahem* he'll go glittery and sparkly.

I'm a sucker for it. Ever since I watched Beauty and the Beast when I was six, the girl-meets-monster-falls-in-love-with-monster story has made my heart ache.

However, on that particular night I had a thought that I voiced: "What if there's a story where the girl doesn't fall in love with the monster? What if the monsters are exactly as the name suggests, monstrous?"

Uno had blinked at me as I continued to prattle on about creating a story about a town who lived by a set of strict rules to avoid meeting a sticky end with the creatures they shared the town with.

I lay awake that night, thinking about it. Drawing up the first ten rules of a fictional town in the north of England.

And there it was. The baby was made.


The pregnancy


I'm one of the smug mums who had an easy pregnancy.

The book was written within four weeks and I sat back triumphantly when I was near to the end thinking I'd done it. I'd created a young adult horror book.



The baby


Okay, the reality wasn't quite that simple.

The thing kept me awake until I was averaging barely four hours sleep a night. Sometimes it just cried for no reason. I couldn't tell whether it was the characters that bugged me, the storyline, the pace, the style, or just a combination of all of it.

I'd stare at the blinking cursor on the screen with my bleary eyes. "What?!" I'd demand, pulling at my hair. "What do you want me to do?! I give up! I've read you four times and you're still not right!"


The absent father


Uno was there for the conception but the majority of the work was left for me, being the writer and all. Occasionally, she'd pitch up at the weekend or late on a weeknight and I'd read some out to her.

"Hmmm, I wouldn't do it like that," she'd utter nonchalantly.

"Sorry?" Would be my response through gritted teeth. At the same time I reason I should probably have a shower and get dressed given it was the afternoon. Don't lose it, Em. "What do you mean?"

"Well," she'd say, being helpful, "why don't you try it this way..."

My nostrils would flare and my face would be practically puce. How dare you?! I'd want to scream. I'm the one who spends all of the hours on this book! You just swan in here when you feel like it and tell me how to write it?!

Instead, I'd force a smile. I'd be stupid to try and do it on my own. I needed her help.


Starting school


"Published!" I'd screamed. "Blackbrooke is going to be PUBLISHED!!!"

Uno and me had celebrated as though Blackbrooke was the first book that had ever been published in history. I called the proud grandparents who were delighted and also the other casual father figures in its life, Dos and Tres.

Uno, Dos, Tres.

Blackbrooke.

Three men and a baby?


Leaving home


One minute, I'm typing at my desk furiously writing the first 100 words and then I'm clicking send on the final draft.

I've been engaging with people in social media to try and spread the message in time for its launch on 19th July and its currently being read and reviewed by Carmen from Book Me!

I sat in work the day the publisher sent the book over to her and my palms were sweaty. I pushed the home button on my phone to reveal the front cover artwork every five minutes, smiling at the comforting sight.

"Em?"

"Yes, Uno."

"About Blackbrooke...I'm not sure I'm happy about other people reading it. I just don't feel ready to let it go yet. It feels weird people will know those characters that aren't us."

"I know...but I suppose we have to let it go at some point as frightening as that is."

So, as I inspect myself in the mirror and think it's probably about time I lost the 'baby weight' from sitting on my ass for months and just writing, I feel a sense of overwhelming pride, loss, fear, joy and pretty much every other emotion you can imagine.

I'm happy to let Blackbrooke go into the big wide world but I can't promise I won't shed a tear as I wave furiously as she heads off into the sunset.

I won't cry too hard though as I know I'll turn around to face Book 2, folding his arms and demanding my attention.

Oh well, perhaps the baby weight will be here a bit longer.

Em

x


Here's a lovely song that I've been tweeting about but thought I'd share on my blog.

   






Friday, 1 June 2012

"It's all happening..."

...one of my favourite lines from one of my favourite films.

Nothing could be more fitting right now. You'll know from my last blog that I landed a publishing deal with Crooked Cat for my first novel Blackbrooke and I've been riding the roller coaster ever since.

So, where am I up to now? I've completed my first set of edits (painless, thankfully), worked with the publisher on my front cover artwork, and started to put the wheels in motion to promote Blackbrooke when it hits the virtual shelves from 19th July.

All the while, I've been busy scribbling the second part of the trilogy and trying to hold down a full time job. It's been a whirlwind to say the least and I'm loving every minute of it. This is what its all about after all.

Struggling to find enough hours in the day, I committed to several late nights to try and clear the work from my full time job. Several nights ago, it got to around two in the morning and I'd drained an entire pot of strong coffee but was still feeling sleepy. Determined to stay awake, I decided to take a break from work and look at something else.

Something I'd been putting off.

Yes, those all important acknowledgements. Oh, don't get me wrong, the self-indulgent bliss isn't lost on me. After all, I'm a girl who used to stand in front of the mirror with a can of hairspray clutched to my cheek, uttering breathily, "I never expected I'd even win an award. And an Oscar no less! And BEFORE my sixteenth birthday! I'd like to thank god..."

Whenever I read a book and stumbled upon the acknowledgements, I'd feel a pang of envy, hoping one day I'd be able to do the same and give thanks to all of my nearest and dearest.

With this in mind, you'd imagine I'd be in my element, but that wasn't the case. Firstly, my editor told me to keep it around 400 words. Now, I'm a writer of a rather substantial novel. A novel that's part ONE of a trilogy. Basically, if there's something I can say in 400 words, I'd rather say it in 4,000.

So, 400 words...

That's okay. Plenty in fact.

I got to typing and sat back triumphantly after shedding a tear or two along the way.

Word count = 816.

Oh shit...

Alright, no problem. I'll simply chop it down a bit. Take out the odd word. As long as I didn't have to remove a person, all was good in the world. I did just that and cut out some of the more cringe-worthy bits, reasoning that I'd probably regret them anyway.

Done!

Word count = 759

WHAT?!!!

Serious cosmetic surgery was in order and I've managed to finally get it to around the 400 mark. I've taken a lot out, but I figured I could just tell some of the people how thankful I am. You know, the gift of speech? I might be out of practise but I think I remember how to engage my tongue and hold a conversation.

Reading over my acknowledgements still makes me cry which officially makes me a soft sod these days. Since signing my contract I've been a bit of a blubbering wreck whenever I think about Blackbrooke. And god help me when a sad song comes on the radio...

So, as part of my promotional work I've launched a Facebook page for Blackbrooke, Twitter and been interviewed on a fabulous YA book website. I'll include the links in case you're interested but, trust me, I won't become a shameless self-publicist on my blog.

If you have any inkling that I do then please feel free to slap me with a wet fish.

Expect more blogging in the coming weeks as my story of getting Blackbrooke released unfolds.

Wish me luck...

Em
x

My links:

'Like' my Blackbrooke Facebook group - https://www.facebook.com/theblackbrooketrilogy
Follow Blackbrooke on Twitter - @blackbrooke_i


Check out my interview on Book Me! Thanks again, Carmen :-)