A note from Headbuzzer: Author Amelia Atwater-Rhodes will be guest posting on the blog this week! Amelia will be blogging about everything and anything, including her newest book, Promises to Keep, available now! We're giving away ARCs of Promises to Keep, so be sure to leave a comment and update your mailing address, and you could be chosen as a winner!
How Writing and Publishing is a Little Like Time Travel
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
One thing I have to admit: though I write paranormal fiction (vampires, witches, etc) I grew up on Star Trek and other classic sci-fi, and that kind of work still holds a place in my heart. Lately, a friend introduced me to the new Dr. Who series, and my mother gave me Stephen King's 11/22/63 to read. The combination, combined with the work I was doing at the time, put the subject of time travel on my mind and brought me to this conclusion: being a published writer is a little like being a time-traveler.
Bear with me. I'll start making sense any minute now.
Very recently, Promises to Keep went on sale. I have trouble keeping publication timelines straight in my head because, in my mind, the book is complete and my mind has moved on as long as a year beforehand. I've moved on from something that, from an outside perspective, hasn't happened yet. This is especially confusing with a book like Promises, which has such an impact on the world.
I've been in Post-Promises Nyeusigrube for over two years now. I spent two National Novel Writing Months- November 2011 and 2012- wading through that world, battling everything from dragons to zombies. I emerged last December, triumphant... but none of my readers had caught up to me yet.
Fun fact: in Nyeusigrube canon, only four and a half years have passed since the publication of In the Forests of the Night, which came out on May 11, 1999. Promises to Keep opens on Christmas Eve, at the end of the same month when Poison Tree took place.
Confused yet? Welcome to my world.
So, while I've been waiting for something to happen that I was done with at least half a year ago, and which happens only a couple weeks after the end of the book that was published a year ago, I'm revising Bloodwitch- a book that takes place in 1802, was written in 2010, and won't be published until 2014.
Writing in 1802 is hard enough (especially since modern pens and pencils haven't been invented...) due to the research component. Writing the first book in a trilogy which defines a pivotal point in the history of Nyeusigrube is tricky.
Most importantly, the book must be a solid story. Revisions must be made to ensure that pace, world building, character development, plot, and all those important things are established. However, there are definite "butterfly effect" moments. There are times when I want to use a particular character in a particular scene, but realize, "No, he's in a room with so-and-so. If I disturb them, what happens?" More drastically, I've written two books (unpublished so far) featuring descendents of characters who haven't been introduced yet in the Maeve'ra Trilogy. Talk about accidentally killing your own grandpa!
To make matters worse: I started writing this blog post shortly before Promises to Keep, am now finishing it in mid-April, and I have no idea when it will be posted and shared with readers. Read back to the references to Promises, and you can imagine that I've needed to revise my own blog post, as time caught up to me. Meanwhile, I'm playing around with modern storylines, waiting for Bloodwitch to come back from copyediting, and preparing to dive into editing Maeve'ra II: Bloodkin.
In conclusion, I never want to be a time-traveler. Bouncing back and forth between the eighteen-hundreds and today in text and straddling two years ago and two years from now with publication plans is confusing enough. I have enough trouble keeping track of what day of the week it is and remembering to wear my watch. (Besides, I would never be able to get over the fear of creating a reality-ending paradox or destroying the world as I know it).