Flashing Neon Light

February 26th, 2015 § 0 comments

In less than a week, my debut novel The Cake House will be available in stores. Just a little while ago this date seemed months, nay years out. How did I even get here?

Most of the time my life carries on completely normal, but then a neon light starts flashing in my head and I realize holy crap this is a real thing.

My friends and acquaintances and co-workers keep asking me if I’m excited. Of course I am! I’m also curious. A bit anxious. Thinking a lot on my next project.

It was a pretty cool journey, though, this ride from idea to published book. Here is a (not so) brief timeline of The Cake House’s journey:

~ At the start of the summer in 2007, I began working on what would be my thesis project for the MPW program at USC. I had an idea. Sort of.

~ I chugged along all summer, writing about 200 pages or so. I met with my thesis advisor and, after he read my work, he told me that the story didn’t actually start where I started, but started… 200 pages in.

~ So, after a period of mourning, I cut those 200 pages and reshaped the story. It was spot on advice, and I’m grateful he didn’t hold back in giving it. If you’re curious what was in those 200 pages, all of it was unnecessary backstory.

~ Let me tell you, writing a first draft of a novel, going to school, and working full time, and still wanting a social life? Means you don’t get any sleep. My right eye began twitching and didn’t stop for two years. This is not an exaggeration.

~ I finished the damn thing! Huzzah! But then I had to do something with it. Got an agent, spent some time rewriting, then basically ignored it for months at a time and busied myself writing short stories, horseback riding, living life. This is where the bulk of time was spent. Years of it.

~ In 2011? (memory fuzzy) My agent told me that she got an interesting rejection from an editor who was willing to talk with me. I said yes. You betcha.

~ This kind person, who would become my editor (the fantastic Andrea Robinson), very gently told me that my story didn’t start were I started it, but actually started a few chapters in, 50 or so pages into the manuscript.

~ After another period of mourning, I followed her advice, reshaped the entire first part of the novel and sent it to her. She sent me back 3 pages of notes. I said fine and rewrote the entire novel from beginning to end during the summer of 2012. By the end of the year the novel was sold.

~ Then the real work began. What followed was a couple of years of intense rewriting, sometimes grueling, always fulfilling. I learned a lot during this time.

~ Occasionally, the eye twitching returned.

~ And now we’re in the final stretch of the journey. Somehow, my book and I, we managed to stick it out.

Recent Audio Books:

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel

Friendship, by Emily Gould

The Movement of Stars, by Amy Brill

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