I’m in the middle of a three-day author chat over at Goodreads, where I’ve been answering reader questions, giving away free copies of Making Waves, and generally trying not to annoy people.
Many of the readers participating in the chat have never heard of me, so they don’t realize the landmine they’ve stepped on when they ask questions like:
Which book would you say was the hardest to write and why?
You’ll be impressed to know I resisted the urge to make a hardest joke. Even though I really wanted to. Even though I thought of at least six hard-on jokes before I finished logging in.
I said logging in.
OK, that’s out of my system now. All jokes aside, it’s a very good question. Did she mean hardest in the technical sense, hardest in the emotional sense, or hardest in the bone-daddy sense?
Sadly, I suspected the latter was not the case. But I couldn’t decide between the other two options.
Technically speaking, Making Waves was a tough book to write. There was a lot of research involved in figuring out the geographic logistics of the journey and the nitty-gritty boating details.
Then there’s the challenge of trying to keep a story interesting when the characters are all stuck in the confines of a fairly small boat. By the time I’d reached the halfway point of the story, I was ready to gouge my eyes out with a popsicle stick. This is actually one benefit to the seat-of-my-pants approach I take with writing. Since I didn’t have the story plotted out ahead of time, I could shake things up by adding a new twist that got them off the boat.
Well, and got them off in other ways. The beauty of writing romance is that sex can always spice things up.
But going back to the original question, perhaps she meant hardest emotionally. Without question,that honor goes to Mad Crush.
(Er, did I forget to mention that the third book in my contract – the one I’ve tentatively referred to as Let it Breathe – has officially been retitled Mad Crush? I like Mad Crush a whole big bunch, so I’m thrilled with the new title. Wait. Was this one of those details I’m supposed to keep secret for now? I forget. Well, let that be a lesson – never tell me any secrets).
Anyway, I started writing Mad Crush within a couple months of signing my three-book deal with Sourcebooks. Within a couple months of that, my marriage of 13+ years began to unravel.
As you might imagine, writing romantic comedy is rather difficult when you’re feeling neither romantic nor comedic.
Under normal circumstances, I can write a book in about 3.5months. Mad Crush took ten months. That doesn’t count editing time, which is still ongoing even now. True, there were several months where I wasn’t writing a word on the manuscript, but even when I was writing, I wasn’t doing it quickly. Most days, it was all I could do just to write a blog post and get it up.
(Should we pause here and make note of the fact that I just used the phrases doing it quickly and get it up without snickering once?)
I’m actually making my final pass through Mad Crush this weekend, and looking forward to making tweaks based on the mindset of someone feeling hopeful and giddily in love instead of like someone who wants to fill her pockets with rocks and walk off the end of a pier.
What’s one of the hardest things you’ve ever done? It can be writing-related or not, either one. Or bone-daddy related, I guess. Far be it from me to discriminate against perverts.