I had planned on writing this post the night before release. But I had the flu. Or something. I still have it a little bit. It's probably some mild cold, but with my compromised immune system it may as well be the plague.
So the night before release, I was at the doctor's office with a raging fever.
A fever I had had for 10 days.
I know, I know. The husband already frowned a bunch and the doctor was very cross with me.
But I have a good reason! It was for the book! I needed to finish edits and formatting in time. I was worried that an antibiotic might make me too sleepy. I still ended up having to reformat, but whatever.
My eleventh book.
The number eleven remained significant from the beginning. I published it in the eleventh month. My muse (Zack) will forever remind me of the Eleventh Doctor. Lydia ended up with eleven stitches. Their room number in Austin was 811. On a scale of 1-10 of how much fun/difficult it was to write this book, I'd have to give it an 11.
There is so very much I could say about this story. I'm not really sure what to share and what to keep for myself. So much of this process has been incredibly personal. A three year endeavor with more interruptions and second-guessing than I ever could have expected.
Three years ago I was naïvely cocky about what kind of story I could construct with Zack. I threw out more first drafts than I can count. Nothing ever worked. It just didn't feel right.
Not to mention all the health things that happened along the way. Plus I was dealing with some behind-the-scenes family drama that was sucking the life out of me.
The brain tumor completely changed my process. I had to relearn how to write. Not to mention the crippling self-doubt and anxiety that came along with it. The hormone parade and physical limitations were infuriating. I hated it. I hated every single second of not being able to control my body and my brain. One night I was really on a role, just sprinting like crazy. The words were flowing and my fingers were flying and I felt like I was finally making progress.
I came to a screeching halt. Every word in the English language left my brain and my fingers hovered over the keyboard for ten minutes as I tried to will the words back. They didn't come back. I cried. I very nearly quit that night. Disheartened and exhausted, I went to bed not knowing what to do next.
And here's where working with Zack changed the outcome.
His entire goal in life, is to help people find and follow their dreams.
So, despite my limitations, he always treated me like I had it handled. His belief in the people around him was inspiring. He didn't make me feel less, and he didn't make me feel stupid.
Also, I had this beautiful band of friends encouraging me behind the scenes. The weeks would pass and I would grow quiet and despondent and they never let me go. They encouraged me to keep going. They would read my early work and honestly tell me if it sucked or not. I can't accurately describe how much I leaned on them. Their love and support made the story possible.
And then we get to the story.
Once the story hit me, it was all I could think about. I spent so much time with these characters, that I miss them now. I feel bereft after finishing it.
I know it's an unusual story. I know that. I'm not saying that to sound cool either. "Ooh, read my story. It's weird and edgy."
I broke all the rules.
Well, maybe, on a subconscious level, it was deliberate. The opening line of the book pretty much sets you up for what to expect. "Answering the phone is against my personal belief system. Stop trying to control me."
The reactions from readers, bloggers, and colleagues has told me that it's weird. Nearly every review starts out with, "This is weird." Not that they're complaining. They're just stating the truth.
It might not be the right book for you. It's not a casual romance so it's not for the casual reader. But I can say without a doubt, I love this story. I loved writing it.
My art and his heart.
I will love it forever.