Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Joy - and Fear - of Being Published

There is little better for an author than opening an email to find within it the long awaited yes, the yes that trumps all past rejections, that validates all the hours spent in a make-believe world sometimes to the detriment of the real one, a yes that makes the author feel like they deserve to call themselves 'author' - the yes that comes from an editor and promises publication.
Last week I got a yes for my first YA contemporary LGBT novel, The Other Me. It is a complete departure from my previous work and while I am beyond thrilled that this story has found a home at Harmony Ink Press, I am also terrified.
Earlier this year, I was slaving away on two science fiction novels, but the 'feelz' weren't there. There was this story in my heart I was desperately trying to ignore and the more I ignored it, the louder the characters kept screaming. 
I’ve never attempted to write a contemporary novel and wasn't even sure I could, but those pesky voices in my head wouldn't shut up so I started writing, opening a vein and bleeding out the words (credit to Lisa Burstein for that fantastic metaphor!). 
There is always a piece of the author in everything they write. For the most part, the pieces of me in my previous work were buried beneath layers of science fiction. They never left me feeling vulnerable because what personal content might've been there was so well hidden, obscured by the extremely fictional world. The Other Me is the complete opposite. While it is neither autobiographical nor based on real events, the story is largely inspired by many of my own experiences in high school. Writing it proved one of the most cathartic experiences, but it also left me feeling exposed. And now even more so knowing my book is going to be available for the whole world to read.
This is a story I think deserves to be told and not just to a select few, which leaves me with this strange dichotomy of emotion: pride and joy as an author, and a lot trepidation as a person whose heart and soul is splashed on the page awaiting judgement and opinion. Perhaps this is what it truly means to be an author: to put the work first, to believe in the story so much that it doesn't matter what people might think they know about me having read it.

The Other Me is set in my home country South Africa and is about a girl, Treasa, who falls in love with a broken boy, Gabriel. With a shared passion for music and geeky astronomy stuff, Gabriel inadvertently helps Treasa discover her true identity while dealing with his own inner demons. The Other Me is scheduled for publication later this year! In the mean time, you can check out the novel’s Pinterest board here.


  1. Congratulations on your book sale! Sounds like a truly compelling read.

  2. Thanks Angelica - I sure hope so :)