Saturday, October 1, 2011

How I got here

Malice was born from a nightmare. An old woman with long crooked fingernails was crawling after me on the floor. You'll have to trust me when I say I was relieved to wake up from that one.

When I finally sat down to write the book, I had very little idea what I was getting myself into. I won't get into too much detail here, suffice it to say that writing and editing the book was tough. Stage two was just downright stressful: getting everything in shape for my Amazon launch. Anyone who read my 'Crunch Time' post can attest to that. Stage three: getting the word out, is by far the most difficult, but it's also possibly the most rewarding. With the way the publishing business has been going these last few years, authors were expected to pretty much market their own books anyway. Unless you were one of the top guns, your cut of the advertising budget might get you bus fair into town.

That was one of the reasons I opted for the self-published route with Malice. If I haven't gone over my history with the novel I'll try and do it briefly here. I wrote the novel a few years ago. My memory's a touch foggy on how long it took me to write, but let's just say 6 months to come up with a first draft. I'd written two children's fantasy books previously, so I wasn't a complete babe in the woods, but I wasn't all that far off.

My first draft of Malice was 130 thousand words. Way too long for a commercial paperback horror thriller. There was a ton of fat still waiting to be carved. Over the years I probably brought it through a half dozen edits of one sort or another. Hired a professional editor. Chopped 60,000 words off of it (I followed Elmore Leonard's advice: just leave out the boring parts). Got an agent who loved it. Then found an editor at Tor/Forge who apparently loved it, but who didn't think he could sell it. Why? I never found out. That was about the time the economy was circling the toilet bowl and it wasn't long before my agent and I parted ways.

Malice was an orphan.

I said 'screw it,' and started writing a second book. Incidentally, my grandmother was also an aspiring novelist and spent her entire life kicking around the same book (which was never published). That little jingle was definitely ringing at the back of my mind when I started my next book. That one took about a year to write, in part because I was trying to hold down a full time job, and fulfill the kinds of commitments that seem to snatch away so much of our lives.

I've had my proverbial tit in the ringer for years and I never gave up. Not yet. And with my second book coming out in the new year (along with my short stories and novella) there'll be plenty more Griffin Hayes to go around.
Thanks for stopping by!

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