Authors are often asked: “Where did you come up with the idea for this book?” Of course, the answer will always be different for each book. For Enigma, it actually stemmed from another book I wrote a few years ago now (a book that will never see the light of day). I was trying to write a dark, young adult novel. It was in a guy’s POV. He stumbled across a girl with a mysterious secret (in this version, she was a pyromaniac as well–odd, cause I am sort of scared of fire–I think it was winter and I was cold so fire seemed like a good thing to write about. Haha.) Anyway, I wrote like 50,000 words of this book and realised… it wasn’t his story. It was hers. *smacks head. I had written the wrong story.
I ended up scrapping everything in that book except the gem of the mysterious girl, Sarah, and one other character (not the male lead in the first version. He ended up on the cutting room floor. Sorry, dude.)
Some might think it’s ridiculous, to scrap that many words. Not me. No writing is wasted writing. That non-novel helped me figure out what the story was that I needed to tell, versus the one I set out to write. I changed the genre from YA to NA (New Adult-College Age), changed locations, back stories, everything but the essence of who this mysterious girl was. I discovered there was so much more to this girl than her illness. So much of her hidden from the world. So much of her people didn’t see. What resulted, was a book that took turns down roads I didn’t think I’d be able to go down. Could I really write this? Could I really publish it? It wasn’t like my other stuff…
Unsure, I sent out beta copies to some trusted readers for their feedback in the very early drafts of this story. You know, the draft that’s filled with typos, plot holes and WTH moments that don’t make any logical sense? Yeah, that’s the version I sent to a few of my dear betas (Sorry, ladies). I waited with butterflies in my stomach as they reported back to me with the same results: You must finish and publish this book.
Crap. I was being forced out of my comfort zone.
Letting out a deep breath, I sat my butt in the chair and finished the story. I’ve spent over a year now laboring over this final draft; mulling over each scene and bit of dialogue. Would she say that? Would he react that way? I’m done now. It’s done. I need to let it go. Sarah’s story is ready to be discovered, for better or for worse.
All that’s left to do now is wait for May 25th to arrive. *Twiddles thumbs… I’m not so good at the waiting thing.
Next week (on Friday the 13th mind you) I’ll be sharing the first two chapters of the book. If you want a look at those chapters sooner, they are going to be shared on my newsletter this Friday, May 6th. You can sign up for the newsletter here if you aren’t a subscriber.
Until then, I’ll be over here… rocking in the corner until the 25th.
(Warning: Graphic, Dark, Adult Content)