She asked me, “Why do you think that is? Why have you disengaged from it?”
And I answered her, “I didn’t think I had.”
My therapist looked back at me with her usual (somewhat vexing) patience, waiting for me to know what I already knew.
“Because I love that book. And if it fails, everything I’ve worked for all my adult life is ruined.”
That’s what I said a few months after Heartsnare was published. Published, as it happens, a year ago today.
I was talking through why I was having a block when it came to promoting the dark fantasy novel I had spent four years (nearly five!) of my life writing and rewriting. Why wasn’t I out there pushing it under the nose of every bugger who I could find? Why wasn’t I pounding on the doors of reviewers? Why wasn’t I, why wasn’t I, why wasn’t I?!
And the answer was, I was terrified.
You see, I thought once the book was out there I would have achieved something. And I had. But what I also thought was that by achieving publication (by my dream publisher, actually–I had a board at home on which I’d pinned Lethe’s logo nearly seven years before) I would erase the part of me that was afraid, that felt like an impostor at this writing game.
That didn’t happen of course. The Impostor Syndrome now just had a whole new set of things to fret over. I fell into a deep depression over the book and, though I did market it, felt for a long while like I shouldn’t have pursued this dream. That, in effect, I had no business calling myself a story teller.
But I was wrong.
It’s been a year since Heartsnare came out, and a lot has happened since but one thing has remained true since the very first day I drew the heartsnare symbol on a bit of A4 lined paper.
I love it.
I do. And, if I’m really brutally honest, I don’t care that some people don’t. I care that some people do, that I do, and that in itself is enough to keep me writing.
When I set out to tell the story of Eric and Jhardine who are just trying to live normal lives despite all this supernatural nonsense getting in the way, I wanted to tell a story that was, in some way, a reflection of the life I knew, the people I found in my community, and the hopes and fears we had. I wanted to see us in a book–larger than life, yes, but ineffably, inexcusably, non-too-flatteringly us.
I wanted to examine love and loss, and how sometimes bravery doesn’t come in the form of massive action, but the quiet acceptance that, for a long time, you may have been deceiving yourself–about who someone is, about who you are.
So I sit here a year on, and I am so grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to tell the story of the Umbraverse, to be a writer still writing, to be mentally healthier than I have been for the past twenty years, and to be saying this to anyone who might be reading this now who recognises those same doubts, those wounds, those fears: Keep bloody writing.Nothing is as sad as the unwritten story, nothing can fail as absolutely as the tail untold. Click To Tweet
The story of Eric and Jhardine isn’t over. In fact, it’s only just begun.
I am currently writing and re-writing Umbraverse Book 2, and if anything the story only gets bigger from here on out. I invite you to join me this November for NaNoWriMo where I will be posting daily updates on my progress, highlights of some of the behind-the-scenes stories, and revealing a few things including the title reveal for the new book.
Always be writing friends and, from the bottom of my Empath Heart, thank you for your support.