Today’s post is going to be shameless self promotion. -grin- I’m chunking along on my personal rewrite for book eleven, waiting for the page proofs for book ten, and dreaming . . . dreaming of seeing an ARC of THE HOLLOWS INSIDER. It can’t be long now I’m more excited about this one than perhaps the last handful of regular Hollows novels. Why, you might ask? It’s just a world book. Let me tell you . . .
Much of my time as a writer is inventing things to make my story more believable, more relatable to the reader so that they connect more fully, in short, believe in the magic so that the human condition I’m really writing about shines through. The power fantasy has over us–the ability to give ourselves permission to see and understand the human condition–is for another post, and I truly think seeing the miracle of this over and over is one of the reasons I write.
Making things up creates a cushion of connectivity. This is what I’m excited about with the release of THE HOLLOWS INSIDER. I was able to make layer upon layer of it, going far beyond what my publisher originally intended. I was given a task of creating a world book, but the framework was too small. I wanted color. I wanted illustrations. I wanted a beautiful hardcover. In short, I wanted everything, but I knew that it was far too large a project for my publisher to get excited about. Unless . . .
I love the word unless, especially when it ties in with initiative and dreaming. I gots both, and with fear in my heart that I was going to spend a year creating something that was going to get a pat on the head and a savage editorial knife, I secretly began writing something that I knew was not going to fly in the NY offices. I learned how to work with forms and tables, the only tools I had to arrange things on the page. I contacted an artist friend who had impressed me with his own initiative and dreaming years ago and had original artwork created of the characters. I got a better photo-shopping program and played with it. Once I knew I could put it together, I hesitantly ran an idea past my editor of “What about having a newspaper article with pictures?”
I was terrified. If she said no, it was over already, but like having one dwarf stop by, then another, then another until the house is full and the quest is fully begun with a hapless hobbit lulled into dreaming of dragons and adventure, I got the okay for that. And if a newspaper was okay, then an arrest warrant for Trent couldn’t be bad, either? Right? Right?
I worked, I fussed, I sweated, I went through cartridges of color ink. I lived in terror the month that I turned it in, knowing my editor could see the potential of what I gave her and not knowing if she could sell my big vision to the rest of the group. I felt guilty for not including her in it more, but I’d been afraid of hearing no. I had done what I could to show my dream. There was nothing, nothing I could do to show it better. If it failed now, it was not to be.
And then I got word that it would be a hardcover. I smiled and imagined it. Then found out it would probably be two color, and I quietly, with no demands whatsoever, sent new pages of full color goodness of how cool it would be if it had full four-color wonderfulness. The cover of Witch Weekly had to be color. I’d never seen a magazine in black and white–layers of connectivity–I wanted them bad. I rejoiced when I got the news that they agreed. Four-color. I had the beginnings of what I wanted, and so I wanted more.
I got the go ahead to run a contest for real photos from you the readers to be included into the newspapers. I didn’t know if you would do it. I didn’t know if you would be as excited about seeing the Hollows come alive and be as real as velveteen rabbits are to me. For a month, you guys wowed me with the extent that yes, you believed, even standing outside your capital buildings with “down with tomatoes” signs and concocting elaborate sets. I will always be amazed and thankful.
Now it’s done, in production waiting for its release the Tuesday before Halloween. (Oct 25) I can do no more to bring the Hollows closer to you than this. But if you go out and find it, know that what you hold is a remarkable event because it began as a softly kept dream fraught with both terror and the joy of self-expression. Enjoy it. If you find any mistakes, which I’m sure you will, I’m blaming Devin. He’s an unreliable narrator.
You can see sample pages of the Hollows Insider here at i09