Pepper is another of those wonderful writers I met through Black Opal Books In fact she helped with the cover for My Killer My Love. She’s here today to share thoughts on the emotional roller coaster we feel once the book is done and out of our lives.
Okay, Now I’m Depressed
I know a lot of authors who, when they finish a book, go out and celebrate. The months or years of intense work—writing, revising, editing, and proofing—are finally done. They’ve sold it to a publisher and those edits are done, they have their cover, and all they have to do is sit back and wait until it’s released. They should celebrate. They’ve certainly earned it!
So what’s wrong with me? When I finish a book, after all the work is done, and I’m waiting for its release, I feel a little depressed. I’ve spent the last 6 months thinking about little else but my book and its characters. I’ve been intensely involved in their lives and escapades. I’ve shaped them, molded them, cajoled them, even screamed at them on occasion, struggled—sometimes for hours—picking just the right words to describe their emotions, thoughts, and actions, and now, suddenly, they no longer need me. It’s like waking up from a trance and wondering, Where am I? I have a bad case of “empty nest” on a huge scale and no longer know what to do with myself.
My new book, Black Ops Chronicles: Dead Men Don’t , which comes out on June 28th, is Levi’s story. Levi is one of my favorite characters from the first book in the series, Black Ops Chronicles: Dead Run. He’s a British black ops specialist. And he’s fun. I love his sense of humor and the way little things don’t faze him. So I really enjoyed writing his story. But now that it’s done and my days aren’t filled with the details of his life and adventures anymore, I miss him. I feel kind of like I’ve lost one of my best friends.
And when I sit down at my computer to write, I face a blank page instead of a developing story or one that just needs to be polished. Oh, I know that I’ll meet new characters in my next book and get to be involved in their lives. But I don’t know them yet, so I feel like a new student on the first day at a new school. What if nobody likes me? What if I can’t keep up? What if I’m not good enough to tell their story? What if…what if…All the doubts and insecurities, that I successfully buried to write the last book, bubble to the surface again and I have to force them back down, which is almost as hard as writing the darn book!
True, I do get a sense of accomplishment from seeing my new book on the shelf with the others. And I get a warm glow of pride if the reviews are good or one of my readers emails me that he/she loved the book and couldn’t put it down. But I know in my heart, that I’ll never leave “well-enough alone.” I have this compulsion to write fiction. And I can’t shake it. Already I can sense the characters from my next book knocking at my brain and telling me to get on with it. They want their story told, too. So now I get to face the months of intense work ahead of me to just to get the first draft done. And if that’s not bad enough, once I finally get the story to where I really like it and I’m excited and happy about it, it will be finished and, once again, I’ll be depressed. No more shaping, molding, cajoling, screaming, or struggling. My baby will stand on its own and it won’t need me anymore. Didn’t I just leave this party? Doesn’t hardly seem fair, does it?
And then I’ll get to start all over again on the next one. Is it any wonder I’m a little depressed?
NOTE: We can cheer ourselves up knowing Dead Men Don’t will be available in just a couple days…maybe even now! What a great way to spend the weekend!
Award-winning author, Pepper O’Neal is a researcher, a writer, and an adrenalin junkie. She has a doctorate in education and spent several years in Mexico and the Caribbean working as researcher for an educational resource firm based out of Mexico City. During that time, she met and befriended many adventurers like herself, including former CIA officers and members of organized crime. Her fiction is heavily influenced by the stories they shared with her, as well her own experiences abroad.
O’Neal attributes both her love of adventure and her compulsion to write fiction to her Irish and Cherokee ancestors. When she’s not at her computer, O’Neal spends her time taking long walks in the forests near her home or playing with her three cats. And of course, planning the next adventure.