My first book to sell, Nightshifted, was actually my tenth book written.
Along the fifteen years it took to write one that could finally sell, I was buoyed by an endless optimism and (in retrospect!) a frankly completely naive confidence in myself. Which was lucky, because ten books and a decade and a half is a lot of time to spend writing without any external validation.
But there was a two year gap in there where I didn’t write at all, and that was largely due to me not understanding how my process was changing. All I knew is that I couldn’t write how I used to, in the way that I was used to – and so instead of trying to keep writing, I gave up, because I was scared it wouldn’t be any good.
You see, I had a system. I’d get my idea and I’d write books through, A-Z, in order, every time. Scene by scene. That’s how it worked for me – and I knew that’s how it worked because I had nine books to show for it, via that method.
But when your writing process changes, it’s not like your subconscious sends you a note. All I knew was that one day, instead of being a linear author, I became some sort of quantum unknown. I’d write A, then I’d write G, then I’d write C from a different POV, or X from another book entirely.
My inability to write like I once had freaked me out. If what I was already doing wasn’t selling, what chance did this new weird stuff have? Would I even finish it? Could I finish it? Where was the end? Who was this story even about? I felt like I’d lost control of my craft, and had run my ship ashore.
So I shut down for two years. I’d try to write on and off, discover I was still “broken”, and give up again. It’s funny how a process change I wasn’t in control of at all scared me more than a decade of consistent rejection.
It really wasn’t until I went to Clarion West and had to produce one story a week for six weeks, that I got over my “What the hell am I doing? Why isn’t this in order? Whose voice is this in my head now?” panic and learned to trust in the journey and just go where my process wanted me to go. It forced me to believe in myself, and with that belief I produced some of the best work of my life. And when I was done with that trial by fire I knew that my process would work if I just let it. All I needed to do was to get out of my own way.
So when the idea for Nightshifted came along, and seemed a little strange, and I wanted to write it out of order, and who were all these weird characters and why was my protagonist sleeping with characters I didn’t even know yet? Well, I trusted it. And it worked.
Most authors don’t seem to have this problem, or if they do, they don’t talk about it. But I know Jay Lake has spoken about it before, (but he’s very prolific, I can’t find the link right now, he talks about his process a lot ;)) But if this happens to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Try to roll with it and see where it takes you -- it may just be the best thing ever to happen to your career.
NightshiftedNightshifted/Edie Spence 1
St. Martin's Paperbacks, May 22, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
From debut author Cassie Alexander comes a spectacular new urban fantasy series where working the nightshift can be a real nightmare.
Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond…
Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed. But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this…
And the cover for Moonshifted, which will be published in the Fall 2012!!
She likes alchemy, blood, and science, in that order.
What: One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Nightshifted from The Qwillery. Please note that you will receive your book after it is published in May 2012.
How: Leave a comment answering the following question:
What do you think of the covers for Nightshifted and Moonshifted?
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Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Monday, April 30, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*