Some books are harder to write than others.
Last night, I finished the revisions on my May 2014 release, The Heart’s Pursuit. Off it went for the next round of editing. Those should arrive back in my mailbox in early to mid October. I will be anxiously awaiting the editor’s opinion of how the book has changed since the last time she saw it.
This particular novel has a rather checkered past. Life has interrupted it. Other books have delayed it. A change of editors has been thrown into the mix, along with the merging of two publishing houses. Early on, I developed a kind of block about it. I expected things to go wrong. I expected the writing and rewriting and revising to be hard. And when a writer expects something like that, she usually gets it. Groan… Even knowing it was a block and not necessarily reality didn’t make the work easier. Every day I had to will myself to overcome it.
This story had a different title and an entirely different cover back when it was scheduled to be released (which was before the three books in the Where the Heart Lives series). I liked the original title, although I like the new one too. I was never crazy about the original cover they planned to use. And the cover change is one thing that went very right. I’m so grateful the publisher took another look at it because the designer has given me a cover to love, love, love. No doubt about that. This version I’m posting above needs just one minor tweak, and many readers probably wouldn’t notice what I’ve asked to be changed, so I’m not waiting to share.
Back in 1999, I struggled in a HUGE way as I wrote The Shepherd’s Voice. I was suffering burnout, and every moment at the computer was torture. Months and months of torture. It felt like I had to rip each and every word out of my chest to get it on paper. When I turned the book in, I thought it the worst tripe ever written. Even when the revisions were light and the editors proclaimed their love for the story, I still didn’t believe it was any good. I felt disconnected from it.
Fast forward to 2000 when the book released and I began to get lots of reader mail and great reviews. Still had no confidence in it. Fast forward some more to 2001 when The Shepherd’s Voice won the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance. Only then, finally, did I begin to believe it might not be as bad as I feared.
What that experience taught me was that I can’t rely on my “feelings” about a book to judge if my writing is good or horrid. I have to rely on my craft and my “storyteller’s gut” and try to let the feelings go.
Still, even knowing I can’t trust my feelings doesn’t mean I won’t be waiting on pins and needles to hear my editor’s thoughts about The Heart’s Pursuit. That’s just the nature of the beast.