There’s always a sense of relief that comes with sending your newest book out into the world. It’s a sense that is then replaced with dread. Once the book is available for purchase, it’s also available for review.
It’s there for criticism.
It’s there for scorn.
It’s there for the disappointment that comes when friends and extended family fail to pick up their copy.
I guess you could say that an author is driven by fear. We talk a good game. We say that reviews don’t bother us – hell, most claim not to even look at them. But we do. They hurt. Even the three stars. We’ll comfort each other when our friends get three stars and say “but that’s still good!” Only, when it happens to us, it isn’t good enough.
But we keep going. We keep putting ourselves out there. Most of the time, the energy we spend on thinking about already released books is minimal compared to the ones we’re working on. It’s very rare we write stories that truly stick with us and impact us on such a deep level. A writer may only get a few of those in their career – the books that actually say something about the human condition. They aren’t merely for entertainment – although that can’t be discounted.
The Invincible series is that for me. These are the books I will look back on and say “did I really write that?” That isn’t to say they’re perfect or that everyone will love them. It’s that they speak to me. They haunt me.
We all deal with trauma differently, but everyone is broken by it in some way. When I first began writing We Thought We Were Invincible, I thought I knew what I wanted to say. The story was supposed to be about a group of teenagers in their final year of high school. Okay, that’s what it was. But we all remember high school when the entire world is stretched out before us. You prepare for large things. Everyone thinks they can do anything. High schoolers have this amazing sense of – shall we call it – invincibility? They think they’re safe because they’ve mostly been sheltered from a lot of the dangers in the world.
My original story was going to explore what happens when they realize they aren’t invincible after all – when something happens to shatter their world.
Then something interesting happened. I learned something – yep, that is still possible.
I realized that my definition of invincibility was only a part of the whole. Invincibility doesn’t mean that nothing can break you. It means that when it inevitably does, we have the amazing ability to become stronger.
The original story was also supposed to only be a single book, but by the end of book 1, these characters weren’t ready to learn this lesson.
I have an episodic illness that keeps me in bed a lot of the time so this lesson was an important one for me personally. Writing We Thought We Knew It All tore out my guts. It broke me open in a way I couldn’t have foreseen.
I have heard from some advanced readers that have been helped by this story and it has shown me the truth. These are my two books. I’ve published nine so far and they are all my children, but these are the ones that will forever be with me because they taught me how to be invincible.
And for that, I will be forever grateful to Callie and Jamie.
Pick up your copy of We Thought We Were Invincible HERE!
Pick up your copy of We Thought We Knew It All HERE!