Katy was used to losing things. First she’d lost her childhood home, then her career and reputation, and finally, and most dreadfully, her identity, so she knew she should be used to it. She wasn’t though and she couldn’t bear the thought of having to leave her job and start over, not now she was beginning to make a new life for herself. On the other hand she wasn’t prepared to play second fiddle to her boss’s girlfriend. Thank goodness she’d found out what he was really like before it was too late…or had she?
We have all read books which made us cry. Stories that have so gripped our emotions that we have totally identified with the characters even though we know they are fictional. It happened to me earlier this week...except it wasn't quite like that. You see I wrote the book!
It was Saving Katy Gray. I developed the storyline and created the characters. I knew the outcome too, obviously, so why on earth did I cry? There are two possible explanations. The first is that I need to get a grip! The second is that I might...just might... be a halfway good writer. I hope it's the second one but the only way a writer can ever really know is if a reader posts a good review, or makes contact by email or letter, and when that happens it's thrilling.
Saving Katy Gray is the final book of my When Paths Meet trilogy and it was published in 2014. As is the way with most writers after the excitement of publication day, I moved on and started writing another one. Now, several years later, Books We Love is adding a print format to all those eBooks, something that thrills me greatly even though it entails a considerable amount of work. As well as having to reformat the books, there is an opportunity to re-edit before they go into a second edition, so that's what I was doing. Re-reading and editing. What I wasn't expecting was that one of my own books would make me cry..
It also made me realise how much emotion a writer invests in each book and, in my case, even more when it is a series. By the time I finished writing the third book the characters were like family. Even now I think of the local but anonymised house and garden that I 'borrowed' for Book One, as 'Marcus' and Jodie's house' whenever I walk past it. The same goes for the local riding stables. Although I moved their location in my book, they still belong to 'Jodie' in my mind.
Re-reading a book published several years ago was interesting too. I was surprised by how much I wanted to tweak things...not the story, but some of the dialogue. Some of the prose as well. While it was fine (and edited) the first time around, reading it again in a couple of sittings made me want to tighten it up. It was a good exercise and well worth it because now I'll be able to have print copies of each of my books too.
I know fellow writers will understand about the crying and the relationship with my characters. I'm less sure about the reading public, but if they like the books then that's enough. I just hope they don't think I need to get a grip!