My dear mom-writer friend, and fellow Immortal Works author has published her first book, Stonebearer’s Betrayal. Congratulations, Jodi, and thank you for this glimpse into the real work of writing!
Many people believe writing a book is something that happens in a dramatic caffeine-fueled month of weekends. A writer gets a brilliant idea, spends every free minute over the course of days or weeks, and dashes it onto the page. This pile of pages is sought after by publishers who wave their magic wands over it and POOF! That idea is now a beautiful book and sent to stores ready for the adoring masses.
Okay, that is not really what happens, least of all to me. Growing up, I was always writing funny little stories, many loosely based on whatever movie or book had caught my attention at the time. In most of these stories someone suffered a catastrophic injury and needed a hero or needed to be brave. There was always a bittersweet ending. As adulthood loomed over me, with college, real jobs, and boyfriends, time and energy for writing was spent elsewhere.
Not until years later when I was deeply entrenched in mommyhood, with a very active two-year-old plus one on the way, did I find myself in need of a creative outlet or else go stark raving mad. Desperation totally counts as inspiration, right? Since reading books and writing little stories played a big part in my childhood, it felt right to return to the page and put my ideas into words. A solid six of the ten or so years I have been working on this book were spent learning about how to write a good book. I was so excited about this process I even had a blog about it. You can totally go check it out at myliteraryquest.wordpress.com.
Funny enough, I still ended up with a story peppered with people needing to be saved and needing to be very brave. Some things don’t change.
Stonebearer’s Betrayal is a coming-of-age story with magic, action, and a touch of awkward (erm, I mean adorable) romance. Katira, at the very grown up age of eighteen, has her life figured out. She wants to be a healer like her mother, marry her childhood sweetheart Elan, and when the time is right, raise a family of her own. All these plans come are ripped away from her when the stories and legends she never believed as a child start barging their way into her life. She is confronted with one uncomfortable truth after another, monsters exist as do people with magical powers. Behind all her troubles is a manipulative she-demon, bent on destroying her, her family, and any chance for future happiness. She must find a way to defeat this demon or lose everyone she loves.
The inspiration for the elements that appear in the story comes from a big heaping mess of different books and shows I loved growing up. I adored the magic systems in Wheel of Time, the immortals from The Highlander, and the drama of Life in the ER. Add to that a fascination with martial arts and all I needed to do was find a compelling character to plunge into that world.
NOT. This is where the other four years went. While I had all the pieces, I didn’t have the right character to guide the reader through the story. My first serious attempt at creating a manuscript turned into a 130,000 word, fourteen point-of-view, monstrosity. It didn’t help that at the time, I had three young kids vying for my attention. Two of them had stopped napping, one had sensory issues, zero were in all-day school.
Finding time to write and edit was almost impossible, finding energy even more so. As much as I was determined to create a “sellable” product, I couldn’t summon the energy to do so. I had a huge story problem which needed solving and all my brain power was being used to manage my home and three adorable distractions.
When my youngest was finally old enough to attend pre-school, I could focus and put in the hours of serious work the book needed. By then I had joined a few writing organizations who taught me more about the art of writing and gave me the support and encouragement I so desperately needed. My writing and editing time still came in fits and spurts whenever I could find a pocket of quiet, it was unpredictable at best, but it was still progress.
This year, all three of my kiddos are in all-day school and I finally can have a somewhat normal schedule for my writing and writing-related work. When writing something new, I try to get about two hours of work in first thing in the morning and then use the afternoon to catch up on chores and work out marketing plans. However, if I’m under a deadline, all that goes out the window. Those months, depending on the deadline, I’ve been known to disappear from my family and only come out to prepare and be present at meals.
While writing does take time away from other things, it gives me a sense of fulfillment that I don’t get anywhere else. I’ve met the most inspiring people and made friendships with people who share my interests. I’ve said it many places before, and I’ll say it again. Find your tribe. It not only gives you an outlet and source of inspiration, but much needed support to help you reach your goals.
Stonebearer’s Betrayal can be purchased no on Amazon HERE!
Growing up, Jodi L. Milner wanted to be a superhero and a doctor. When she discovered she couldn’t fly, she did what any reasonable introvert would do and escaped into the wonderful hero-filled world of fiction and the occasional medical journal. She’s lived there ever since.
These days, when she’s not folding the children or feeding the laundry, she creates her own noble heroes on the page. Her speculative short stories explore the fabric of dreams and have appeared in anthologies and magazines, while her novels weave magic into what it means to be human.
Follow Jodi. I do!