Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Happiness is a form of Courage

I posted this pic on my Facebook page today:

 Sometimes, it takes courage to allow yourself to be happy.  I can think of a hundred different scenarios that apply to this simple observation (Hello!  Writer here!) but it reminds me of "Absolution" and what these characters go through during the course of the story.

Ally faces each day with a smile on her face, determined to show the world that she is not a victim.  As Jack says to her at one point: "It's just what happened to you.  It's not how you define yourself."  Yes, she has her moments (don't we all) when she wants to crawl back into bed and hide, but she wants to be happy.  And being happy, for her, means she has to put her doubts aside and fight for that happiness.

Jack faces up to everyone he walked away from and asks for a second chance.  This is something I think we can all relate to in some way.  Regrets are common.  Asking for a second chance when you think you don't deserve one takes guts.  He has two choices: run and hide (he tried that - all it brought him was misery) or stand and fight.  There's no such thing as the easy way out.

To allow ourselves to be happy is a choice.  It takes guts.  It takes determination.  Sometimes, you have to make that decision to put your fears and doubts aside, and go after that happiness with both hands.

I began writing this story four years ago.  Now, with barely 2 weeks until it's release, you can bet I'm biting my fingernails and feeling more than a little twitchy.  But the hopes I had for this story were beyond it making me happy and then sitting in a drawer for the forseeable future.  And in order to realise those hopes and dreams, I'm putting my doubts and fears on the backburner too, and I'm sharing it with you. 

If it all goes swimmingly, fantastic!  If it doesn't, I have another couple of stories I think you might possibly enjoy.  Either way, I'm not giving up.  That's my choice, that's what I want. 

~ Amanda

Friday, 4 October 2013

Publication Day

Publication Day (or "pub day", as they call it "in the biz").

Hmph.  "They".  I guess, technically, I'm also part of "they" now, aren't I?  Wow.  That's a head-spinner, right there. 

I have so many emotions about the release of "Absolution" on 29th October.  It's been there, in the back of my mind (and sometimes in the forefront) for the past week or so, since I found out about the actual date from my publisher.  In the hope of organising my thoughts into some kind of sense, I'm going to list them here.  Bare with me.  (I'm hoping this will be cathartic).

1.  Fear. 
Number one.  Numero uno.  This goes right at the top of my list.  In my head, it's in caps, in bold and in red.  Fear that the book won't go down well.  Fear that this might be the only time I get to experience "pub day".  Fear that I've wasted four years of my life on a story that is going to sink without a trace.  Fear that people I know will read this (I know how silly this one is, but it's still there). 

2.  Excitement.
I'm about to release my first novel!  Four years of hard work, sleepless nights, missing out on family time and staying up till the wee hours writing, re-writing and editing.  Sweating buckets over word counts (is it too long?  Will people be turned off by a 169,000 word/over 400 page story?  Maybe I should shorten it...where would I begin?  What should I cut?), the inclusion of cuss words (too many?  not enough?), realistic dialogue, medical jargon, specifics (should I include the music or just make it generic?  If I include the music, will that turn people off?).  Blood, sweat and tears went into this project and if I get just ONE good review, it would all be worth it!

3.  Panic.
What if it does well?  Then what happens?  (Note that I can't win here - if it does well, I worry.  If it doesn't do well, I worry!).

4.  Pride.
Four years ago, when I began writing this story, I never thought in a million years that I would ever get to the point of having it published.  I thought I might anonymously post it on a website full of other original works, in the hopes of getting some positive feedback.  Perhaps I would be brave enough to show it to a select group of friends and see what they thought.  (I did both of those things).  But share it with the general public?  No.  Far too scary.  I'm proud to say that I overcame this particular fear, and that through the magic of t'interweb, my publisher found me.  And then...I found all of you *smiles*.

I teeter between thinking that this story is one of many millions out there, and it probably won't even make a ripple in the market, to wondering if I have written something really special.  Something that I can be proud of, and my children and grandchildren can be proud of.  Something that will launch me on a wave of self-confidence that will see me buckling down and finishing the edit of my second book ("Anniversary"), and my third ("Redemption"), and then finishing writing my fourth ("Missing") and possibly more.

Just when I convince myself that this story and this experience is all rather ordinary - that it's no big deal - I hear a little voice in my head saying "you never know - they might just love these characters as much as you do".

I hope that little voice is right.  I really do.

I have taken "pub day" off work - no day-job that day.  I imagined myself pacing my house, afraid to go online but also too afraid not to, waiting for reviews to come in as friends, family and complete strangers cast their eye over my characters and read their story - my story.  In order to avoid that scenario, Mum has offered to take me out to lunch.  We have pledged to drink champagne (well, sparkling wine).  For a couple of (basically) non-drinkers, this is Big.  Out there, makin' memories.

So, on "pub day", spare me and my rapidly-disappearing fingernails a thought - and if you do buy the book and enjoy it, please put me out of my misery by letting me know! *smiles*

25 days and counting...