This is, admittedly, more than a little overdue. This is one of those posts that I can’t really explain why I haven’t written. There’s no real reason, I just haven’t gotten to it.
A favorite question when talking to or interviewing authors is “how long did it take you to write your book?” Sometimes, it’s an easy answer. Other times, like with The Most Special Chosen (TMSC), it’s complicated.
I’d like to explain why it’s complicated, so today, you’re getting the history of TMSC. As I said before, it’s long overdue, but better late than never, right?
TMSC originated in 2004 as a high school story. Fitting, really, as I was a junior in high school myself. I’m a little embarrassed to say that, at the time, it was written as a story of my boyfriend and me. It got a re-write when we broke up, but I had a decent chunk of it written by the middle of 2005 when I graduated.
Then college happened. The notebook containing the story was left behind when I moved to my college dorms and the story was forgotten for a while.
Sometime in late 2007, I found the notebook again and set about continuing what was, back then, meant to be a single novel. By late 2008, which I saw the first Twilight movie (yea, I watched it), I had approximately 2/3 of the book written.
I was devastated to essentially see my story playing out on the big screen. When I got home, I put away the various story pieces, determined to forget what was clearly not an original story idea.
In 2009, in a misguided attempt to make the story more original, I set about re-writing it as a college story. I created multiple such iterations, all of them discarded, before having a massive burst of inspiration that turned into the dream sequence at the middle of the book (Chapter 14).
This, of course, added additional plot points that I needed to work in. I continued the story from the dream sequence, writing the ending, and even beyond, making it apparent that this was no longer a single novel, but a series. I went back and re-wrote the beginning, weaving in the new story lines. I also write bits and pieces of the middle as ideas came to me.
It all came together so well, and so quickly, I felt as though I was merely a funnel for the information, rather than the creator.
With just a few holes left in the middle of the book, I received a major personal blow. My mother’s cancer had returned and she was given six months to live. I was determined to finish and publish my book before she passed away.
When she took a major turn for the worse within a couple of weeks, I knew I wouldn’t have six months. It became a race to get a copyright and to have my book copy edited.
Time, and a minuscule budget, made it difficult, but I manged to get The Most Special Chosen of All (as it was known at the time) up for sale on Amazon on January 22, just a week and a half before my mother passed away. One of the last times I’m certain she understood what I was telling her was when I informed her of my book being on sale. The pride and happiness in her face made the rush and effort totally worth it.
So The Most Special Chosen, then, and now, is dedicated to her, my mother, the strongest woman I’ve ever known, as she didn’t get to see it in this lifetime.
Reviews for that first edition were mixed. To be expected, really, both for being my first novel and for the rush to finish it. So, when money allowed, I decided to try getting it edited. I reached out on Craigslist for an editor who’d be willing to work on a skill trade basis, or who would be willing to help me out with a reduced fee, and I got lucky.
Samantha Rich answered my ad, and gave me some great advice. I count myself lucky to have been able to work with her, as her comments definitely made a big difference at the time. I spent about three months editing the book, then relaunched it on July 19, 2014 as a second edition with a new cover.
Once TMSC was accepted for publication — more on that tomorrow — I started reviewing the story once more. One of my fellow Burning Willow Press (BWP) authors, CC Adams, put me in touch with a fabulous beta reader, Terri. She’s a gem, and TMSC would not be as good as it is without her.
Terri looked at my story from a modern perspective. After all, three years had passed since it was originally published, nearly 8 years had passed since some of it had originally been written. The world has changed since then, and some of my characters had dated views. I can’t even begin to explain how please and grateful I am for the suggestions Terri gave me.
I worked with BWP for a final edit and a new cover, and they republished it on March 3, 2018. This is certainly the best edition yet, although I can admit that there are a few flaws that I have taken note of for future works. I’m also considering a fourth edition at some point in the future to correct the pacing issue at the beginning of the story.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at TMSC and how it developed. Tomorrow, I’ll be telling you how TMSC got picked up by BWP. And I’ll be giving you the full history of Fate’s Kiss in the next week or so. Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss them.