I have emerged from deadline hell. The curtain is down on ROMANCING THE WEST. Applause, please.
Things didn't go according to plan, in more ways than one. First of all, I gave myself six months to write this book. I didn't factor in time for promoting LASSO THE MOON, my latest release. Nor did I pad time for sub-genre adjustment. I'd just finished a contemporary women's fiction/romance in first person. RTW is a historical romance in third person. It took more than a month to get my head out of 'now' and into the American West, 1878. Oh, and there's the extra time needed for research when writing a historical piece. Right.
So, now I had four months to write the book. But I was writing in circles. I couldn't get past chapter three. I'd backed myself into a corner. How could I build romantic tension when... well, I don't want to give it away. So rewrites were in order. Figured out how to get around that set up glitch, only something felt wrong with my heroine. I didn't get her. 'We' weren't clicking. I realized she was no better than a paper doll. Cute, but one-dimensional. Why is Emily like she is? I asked myself. What makes her tick? Yes, I should have known this up front. I thought I did. But I didn't. So, I backtracked. Found out what had happened in her past. Then I needed a whole timeline, because there are mysteries and secrets in this story.
Now, I had three months to write the book. Oh, but I had to attend the RT Convention. I had to prepare for workshops and production shows. Not to mention the day job and and occasional night gigs--the bill paying jobs. Don't get me wrong. I wrote through all of this, but it was slow going.
Before I knew it I had two months until deadline. Two months to write 3/4 of the book. There was panic. There was joy. Joy because, at long last, I felt connected to every character. Panic because the characters were complex and head strong. They took off in directions I hadn't planned. Synopsis? Yeah. I had one. A really good one. But they didn't give two figs about my stinking synopsis. So I had to trust them, as well as my critique partners, Cyndi and Mary, and, of course, my own gut. BTW, A HUGE thank you to Mary for her keen eye and support and to Cyndi who brain-stormed and problem-solved her butt off!
I wrote like a mad woman, but regardless, for the first time ever, I missed my deadline. Fortunately, my publisher was very understanding. I turned in RTW today, two weeks after my official deadline. Aside from the embarrassment of being late, I am thrilled. I love this book. I envisioned a screwball comedy with a mystery. I ended up with complex characters, a mystery, suspense and humor, and a lot of HEART. Did I mention I love this book?
I don't know why this story was so difficult to get off the ground. Why it took me so long to connect. I never experienced this particular problem until this story. What I do know is that it was worth the fight. I wrestled that bear of a story to the ground and even though I'm a bit dazed, I'm doing the victory dance.