Anyone who’s been with me for a while remembers how excited I was about publishing my first fictional book, called The SilverJinx. It was the result of an argument at a writer’s conference years ago between two writer’s passionate about their genre. I was one of them, and I loved writing non fiction. The Other Guy was a fiction writer. And he started it.
I swear that I am usually a very sweet, open-minded person more bent towards freedom of self-expression rather than the My Way is the Only Way philosophy. That’s how I know it was all Other Guy’s fault. He brought out the worst in me that day, and all with the blanket statement of “Non fiction writers don’t have imagination, that’s why they can only write what they see.”
That fired my temper up. I countered with the idea that non fiction writers are too interested in the real world to hide in fantasy. I don’t really believe that, in fact up until that argument I don’t think it had ever occurred to me that one genre was better than the other.
I won’t get into all the ugly particulars, but it ended up with us being shushed and heading into our next meeting, faces flushed in anger and hearts pounding. I don’t think I heard much of that lecture, all I remember is reciting to myself all the reasons Other Guy was wrong, and vowing to show him up by writing a work of fiction so imaginative he’d have to eat his words and concede to non fiction capability.
Fortunately I can’t stay angry long, and by the time the conference ended so had all my aspirations to show him up. It had raised a few thoughts in my mind though. At the time I was a contract writer for a military consumer site, and I worked on the side for a local paper. I loved what I did, but sometimes it felt stale.
So I started writing my book. Like many a baby, it was inspired by an argument and born without a clue. I leapt into the project without much thought, it was just for fun. Little did I know my baby was going to grow up and take on personality and life of its own, much like my actual children.
I finally came to the end of the writing part last year, shortly before I was to head off to Australia. There was a rush to get it published so I could hand carry a few copies with me instead of paying for shipping. It felt like Christmas when the proof copy finally arrived at the house. It was such a thrill to see the thing that had lived in my computer for so long have a body of its own.
I’ve always loved new book smell, and the way the pages crack open so reluctantly at first, but I swear a book with your name on it must have pheromones added to the paper. I was definitely in love with the perfect, new thing. And then I noticed an error. The character’s name of “Mae” had been substituted for the word “may”. What’s one little typo, in the grand scheme of the whole book? Then I noticed that all the words “may” had been changed to the character’s name. Now we have a problem.
One copy was sent out, and I had production halted. I was due to leave for Australia within days so there was no time to go through and fix everything, and have it republished. I packed the proof copy in my suitcase at the bottom and there it was forgotten in all the excitement of experiencing a new country and marriage.
I’ve started reworking it about a month ago, and wound up re-titling it End of Mae, which is much more fitting. I never associated the name Mae with the month until yesterday when an online friend made the connection. That inspired me to stop procrastinating and finish so I can have it ready to republish it at the end of this month, the end of May.
How fitting :D