When asked to write this post about a book I’ve written, of the twelve I have released, one comes to mind first. Core of Steel, the first in my Steel Corps Series and my debut novel. The first book I ever wrote to completion and also, the longest book I’ve ever written. This book more than the others fits this post because of the journey it began for me. They do say, you never forget your first. That book began a saga that spanned three years and five books. When I look back at it, review the file for whatever reason, I realize how much I’ve grown as an author. I made mistakes, a lot of them. I used too much passive voice and not enough dialogue at times. The list goes on. It’s been edited so many times and yet, somehow, it’s still not perfect. If you’re an author, new or old, and you’re reading this, my best advice is to take joy in that first book. No matter the mistakes, or the things you wish you could change, the first book is special. It was scary and thrilling, terrifying and exciting. I remember how full of hope I was, that moment when I saw my very first sale appear on my report. This is it. I did it.
As it sold and I saw the first reviews and how readers loved the characters as much as I do, I knew I’d found my niche, my thing, It. The path my life was supposed to take. All because of a dream. I had a crazy dream about this small, kick-ass woman who led a group of equally bad ass men. I have always had a great love of the military and the idea of writing a book featuring not only a special operations group, but one led by a strong female character was compelling. I sat down and I started to write. Then I wrote some more. I researched and asked questions. Steel was born. I had someone tell me just the other day “You don’t look like someone who would have ideas like that.” I found it both insulting and complimentary. I look like what I am; a mother and a wife. At the same time, I love surprising people. I grin and enjoy their surprise when I say “I write military thrillers and zombie horror.”
The other main thing this book brings to mind is the ‘rules’. Writing rules, commas, grammar, etc. I don’t hide the fact that I am completely self-taught. I operate on a high school education and what I’ve learned over the years of working with editors. I still made a disgusting amount of mistakes. One thing I did was change points of view and from first to third person. Bea Michaels, my main character, is written in first person, the other characters are written in third person. Why did I do this? No clue. It just made the most sense to me. I wanted to be in all the characters heads, but writing it all in first person didn’t work. I didn’t know this until later but changing POV is a ‘no-no’, apparently it breaks the rules of writing or something. I don’t care. I did it my way and it works. That’s the beauty of fiction. Shakespeare didn’t follow the rules, he innovated. Made up words, slipped in dirty jokes and all kinds of other ‘wrong’ things. Be an innovator! Break the rules, change up the status quo. By no means am I a famous or well-known author, but one thing I do hear time and again, is that my voice is refreshing and new. It all began with a dream and an idea. Do it, write it, dream it, live it. Break the barriers and the rules, shatter them into a million pieces.