If you have been following my website for some time, you might realize that the fact that this book is coming out at the end of March means that there was a hiccup. It was supposed to release this month. In an effort to pull back the writing curtain a bit for those who are aspiring writers, writers, or just interested in the writing process, here’s what happened:
Did I finish the rough draft on time?
Did I give it to the Beta Readers on time?
Yes, but this is where things broke down. I have three Beta Readers who I can count on to read my books and provide very specific feedback. I’m appreciative of them all. They have often brought to my attention changes that I needed to make with regards to certain characters and situations. Based off of their recommendations, I have changed the ending of books or even added (or removed) chapters. I don’t always agree with their assessments but so long as I understand what didn’t work, I will either make a change or try and provide clarity within a novel. Here’s how the feedback went:
Beta Reader #1: I received a very long review that could be summed up in three words: this is bad.
Beta Reader #2: This is a person who has read all of my books, many of them twice. They still haven’t finished the first draft yet.
Beta Reader#3: Informed me that by now I have some consistent readers and those readers will enjoy the book. (thanks mom!)
Criticism is hard. Especially when it’s the whole book being criticized. I sat in a daze for a month, refusing to look at the manuscript at all, and wondering slightly if I had told all the stories in me to be told. I’ve had writer’s block before but for the first time in my life, I wrestled with crippling doubt. I’m still wrestling. I literally have to pray before I start writing to work up my courage to put thought to paper. And I’ve never had to do that before.
But I knew this series would be a challenge when I started. In the beginning, it felt like it might be too big of a story to tell. And yet, I’m still so excited about it. When I re-read the first paragraph of the manuscript after ignoring it for a month, I just felt overwhelming love for my characters and the story I’m telling. And everyone won’t like it. I wish they would, but that’s not how life works. Nevertheless, I hope to be able to look back on what I’ve accomplished with pride.
Anyway, I said all that to say that the series is slightly delayed, but it’s coming. Since I can’t release on time, I will at least provide you with the premise:
Henry Jones Dabney-Sinclair of the towns of Dabney and Sinclair, Mississippi has always done exactly what has been expected of him…with the exception of one night. A night Henry has long since erased from his thoughts and his memory. But, that night hasn’t been forgotten by all. On the eve of Henry’s leaving for basic training—having received his letter from Uncle Sam—Henry receives another letter: a blackmail letter.
Since the murder of her mother, Petula “Tula” Ann Taggart has lived most of her life bouncing from one relative to the next doing whatever was required to make sure she had a roof over her head at all times. When she is offered the chance to work as a junior hostess at a USO with the same people who had been around her mother the day she died, she realizes she is also being offered an opportunity to discover who killed her mother five years ago and to possibly exact revenge.
When Henry and Tula, two people who have lived in the same two towns their whole lives, knowing of each other but not knowing each other, are drawn together by necessity, they come to realize that working together might be in their best interest and maybe their situations aren’t so different after all.
See y’all in March!