Since April 2015, I have been holding a secret close to my chest. Finally, the news is public.
I have a young adult fantasy story being published!
Yes! This is one step closer to my dream of being Rick Riordan’s female clone.
The unfortunate part about keeping this news secret: it didn’t feel real.
Which means I didn’t get as excited about this accomplishment as I did my other two published stories.
And I should have been shouting from the rooftops and shimmying like a charmed snake.
Except I couldn’t.
When the call went out, the publisher announced an anthology of ten dark fantasy young adult stories which had to be biblical re-tellings.
I immediately had three ideas:
1) Joseph sold to a dragon realm
2) Naaman’s slave girl sending him to expected death rather than a cure (joke’s on her when he comes back alive and leprosy-free)
3) The demon-possessed boy whose possession thwarted the disciples’ powers
Which story would you want to read?
I debated between two and three for a few days. Finally, I decided on the third story because it had the most potential for being unique.
Of course, since I’m not a fan of writing in first person, writing it pushed my abilities to beyond the limit. It had to be in first person so the duality that existed inside my character’s mind would be plainly felt.
A published author who I admire helped me tighten up the beginning. I applied her techniques to all of the story and submitted it.
As you know, it was accepted. The publisher is an independent house, but one that is making a name and has books inside Barnes and Noble stores, not just at online retail sites.
Month9Books specializes in young adult and middle grade speculative fiction, including fantasy, science fiction, paranormal and other related sub-genres.
After working with a fantastic editor, my story rocks the pages. I feel thrilled with the way it turned out. I want everyone to read it.
The Really Cool News
In August, the editor informed all of us that the book wouldn’t be releasing in October, as originally scheduled. Instead, it would release in February.
Not a big deal for me.
The next week, she sent me an email about some minor changes. This is the last line of that message:
Last, but not least, the publisher is curious as to whether you’d be interested in developing “The Demon Was Me” into a full novel! (Way to go, Sharon!) Thoughts welcome. 🙂
To say I was shocked speechless and sent into a tailspin is putting things lightly.
As you know from other blog posts, I said “Nope. Not interested in writing a novel.”
Uh. No. I worked tirelessly on a ten-point outline for the publisher. My editor refined it and tweaked it and sent it back to me for more work.
Eventually, we agreed it was as perfect as we could make it. And she set up an appointment with the publisher.
The dancing points from that conversation:
- The managing editor from the publishing company said my story was one of her favorites in the collection
- She requested more writing from only TWO out of the TEN authors in the collection (one of them is me, obviously)
- She liked the concept for the novel I proposed
- She wants me to write it and submit it to them
- The odds are decent that Georgia McBride Media Group will pick it up
And the rest…is National Novel Writing Month insanity.
The editor hoped I could get the novel ready to submit by February, but since I took a month away from it (December) and have a January vacation, I told her May was more realistic.
I wrote nearly 70,000 words in November.
The last week of December I read through the messy first draft and found:
1. The characters are shallow but relatable. Their voices are distinct.
2. Needs more emotion on every page
3. The plot sags in the middle
4. It isn’t a happy ending, which feels weird to me
The rewriting begins in earnest on January 18 (that would be today). I’ll be fresh from the Caribbean with a whole new outlook on the world (and hopefully awesome ideas to improve the story).
Keep your fingers crossed (or pray if that’s your thing) that the story I love will become a series everyone adores. That it will make a difference in the lives of young people, like The Chronicles of Narnia did for me.
Plan to pick up a copy of In the Beginning come February. Read the stories. Let me know what you think of “The Demon was Me.” (For real. Am I imagining how awesome it turned out?)
Since every single manuscript I submit goes out with a prayer, this opportunity feels like supernatural intervention was involved. My gut tells me this is the break I’ve been
waiting praying hoping working toward since July 2013.