Confidence is a funny thing for an author. You write the best book you can, hoping that somehow everything will work out and the readers will like it. As a beginning author, with rejection slips and unfavorable reviews it's often hard to hard to muster the courage to keep putting words on the page. I've been pretty lucky, but Cry Wolf kind of shook my confidence. I'm very happy with the results, but it took a while to get there. I've gotten used to the story working out right the first time. With Cry Wolf I was rewriting long after I should have been in the editing stage.
So, it was a slightly apprehenisve author who sat at the keyboard, already months late. and stared at the the blank screen under the title Bone Crossed. I knew how the story started. I'd left a scene unfinished in Iron Kissed, closing the pages before the reader could see that what looked like a happy ending was actually . . .
As an author, I sometimes feel like the wicked witch. My job is to find someone happily minding their own business, and mess up their happy little lives until they're upset enough to get off their rump and go change something. It's seldom a good thing in a character's life when the author looks at them and says, "You're happy, aren't you? My goodness, you're trying to slip off into a quiet happily-ever-after! Well, don't get too comfortable my pretty, because I've got plans for your future." The evil cackle is optional, of course, but I find it refreshing.
Maybe it's being relatively pain-free following the back surgery. Maybe it's just that Mercy is such a fun character to write. Heck, maybe it's the helpful wee folk around the house, I don't know, but somehow this story worked like they're supposed to. The sentences flowing onto the screen weren't all polished works of verbal art (mine seldom are), but they told a great story. The characters, bless their little hearts, stayed in character. Nobody tried to get whiny, or angsty, or too darn clever. It just kind of fell onto the pages. I was as excited to see what happened next as any reader. That's how writing is supposed to happen, even though it very seldom does.
It's like playing jazz. Some days you're a muddle trying to remember scales and modes, wondering if you need an F or an F#, and finding the answer the hard way. Other nights, you play and the music moves through you, and you really don't care about the key, because your fingers just know where to land. Those are the nights you remember. Bone Crossed was a good night, and a much needed bolster to my confidence. It's not perfect, no book ever is. An author can always go back and second-guess the decisions, find rough sentences and explanatory passages that could be improved. But it's a good book, and it tells the story I intended to tell. What more can an author ask for?