Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thankful For My First Book Coming Out

Thankful is the theme for this month, and I would like to write about how I’m thankful for my YA LGBTQ Fantasy novel IN THE NAME OF MAGIC, which is forthcoming from NineStar Press with a tentative release date of June 11, 2018. Squealing for joy at the acceptance offer might not sound like a complicated idea. However, writing is a difficult profession because of subjectivity. For example, everyone has their own unique tastes, and it can therefore be challenging to get a literary agent/offer of publication.

I first got the idea for IN THE NAME OF MAGIC around this time last year. I had certain opinions about what was going on in the United States. But I didn’t want to write a strict allegory like 1984 or Animal Farm. Instead, I conceived of a country where people were discriminated against if they were born without magic, meaning gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and skin color weren’t the basis for discrimination in my novel. So, yes, the novel contains dystopian elements. But I wanted to have grounded character stakes/emotions. As a result, I have the main character (17-year-old Maximillian) hide his best friend Katherine. She was born without magic, and needs shelter after fleeing home when her parents are killed by the police and secret police wolves. Yes. They’re talking animals in my novel. Because something has always intrigued me about the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. Anyway, Maximillian and his parents risk their lives since they could be killed for harboring a non-magical person. My point is, I wanted to create a character who wasn’t afraid to take big swings and do something. Because the question: (what would you do?) is the novel’s subtext. Feeling powerless is never good, and the novel is an attempt to have a character channel the idea that I’m not okay with what’s happening, and I’m going to do something about it.

Anyway, I spent the next two months or so writing and revising and then sent it out at the end of January 2017. Rejections piled into my inbox, but I got a Revise and Resubmit from NineStar Press at the end of April 2017. The novel had a creative premise, but needed more emotional depth as a result of the novel’s violent events. I then spent the next month revising, adding about 21,000 words (the novel went from around 74k words to 95k words). I submitted the R&R at the end of May before getting the acceptance offer in August 2017.

Ultimately, cliché sentiments are sometimes true. Having thanks about IN THE NAME OF MAGIC is necessary. The offer came at an important time. I’ve gotten short stories and creative nonfiction published. But I still wanted to get an actual book published, and was starting to get the normal annoyance that occurs when rejections pileup. IN THE NAME OF MAGIC is only one step. But it was almost like a wink from the universe to keep plugging away because I’m on the right path. And that is why I wanted to mention IN THE NAME OF MAGIC in my blog post today. It is a lesson to writers about never giving up, and how it only takes one yes to change things in addition to how there’s not just one path to publishing.

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