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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Changing Nature is live!

Everything about this book makes me happy.
Those are bold words, I know, and I may be setting some people up for disappointment (I apologize profusely if I have), but I'm stepping out on that ice and saying it anyway.

I love this book.

People have asked which of my books is my favorite, and I always responded that it was like asking which of my children was my favorite. Good thing I only have two kids, because now I have a favorite.

I still love the other books, but there was so much emotional turmoil wrapped up in writing them that my experience of them is collapsed in it. Marking Time - my first book - had all the first-book-angst. Did it suck? Would anyone read it? Was I delusional to think I could do this? Who was going to care about these people I made up and spent two and a half years writing? And Tempting Fate - book two - had all the sophomore effort fears attached. Did it suck? Could I pull off the weird alchemy book one seemed to have? Would anyone still care about these people I spent a year and a half writing?

But at the end of the book two writing process I began to sprint. And I realized I could write ten thousand words a week if I put my mind to it, so once I had the plot outlined for Changing Nature, I started writing at that pace.

And it was fun.

Every day I wrote something I didn't expect. Every day my characters took me down an emotional or physical path I hadn't imagined would look quite that way. And every day, on the long dog-walks I took with my boys, I had an interesting answer to their question: "So Mom, what'd you write today?"

The scene in Liz Edwards' kitchen, with her boys Connor and Logan, makes me happy, and my youngest son can't wait to see the movie version of young Shifter Logan playing animal games with his brother and Saira. I'm proud of the birthday conversation on the boat, because it feels real, and true, and full of love. And I cried when I wrote the scene in the secret garden, and every time I've read it, not because it's sticky with sap, but because I can imagine if it were me.

I had to do a lot of research to get the details and settings of this book, and some of it was very challenging, given that I don't speak French and have never taken a river cruise from Paris to Montargis. But enough people have written fascinating tidbits of the history of the region that I was able to piece together a framework of truth to weave my story through.

My characters have also been through a lot, so there's emotional growth they don't need to retread. It was really nice to let Saira and Archer just be partners in their relationship, and that allowed the adventure they were on drive the plot.

So, the first paperback of Changing Nature is sitting on my coffee table, looking gorgeous in its jewel-tone green cover, and I realize that underneath all the character and plot stuff I love about it is this: Changing Nature was fun to write. And when you're doing what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.