How quickly life can change is a cliché and it’s a cliché for a reason – it’s true.
If I take a step back, I self-published because I’d reached a point whereby I’d had enough of being rejected. It left me with two clear choices. I either called it a day and used my time to do something else or I continued to write under a different model.
While I debated my next journey in life, the idea for The Denounced came to me. I was suddenly overwhelmed with a desire to write it and once I had started it soon became clear one book wasn’t enough to tell Ned’s story. My trilogy was born. Knuckling down to write Book 1, A Grey Sun, was on reflection, relatively straight forward. I was buoyed by my idea. I was both excited and fascinated by the self-publishing world, which had become accessible predominately by Amazon’s KDP.
I was also single and had only myself to worry about. I was happy with where I was living. My day job was challenging but I could handle it, and I was aided by the fact that my commute was easy. Of course, the palm trees and the white sands and the blue seas would have been the ideal setting, but I had no complaints and London is a great city.
In short, I was teed up to go, and happy with life. I started and within 9-months A Grey Sun was out and I had crossed the line into being a published author. I couldn’t have been happier. There is always room to improve, but I was pleased with the end product and the reviews and sales were healthy. Even better, I was more prepared to start Book 2, Shifting Horizons, than I ever was with Book 1. But as is true for Ned and the main characters of Pod Fifteen, became true for me. Life is unpredictable. It can and does change in a heartbeat.
From my comfortable base the obstacles flew in. My mother passed away. Someone significant came back into my life. I had to change my day job and with it my commute tripled. I moved home. I discovered I was shortly to be a father to twins and I had the small task of organizing a wedding. My time became more than squeezed, I felt like I was permanently walking into a 100-mph headwind. Yet, I’d committed to finish not only Book 2, but the whole Denounced Series. I knuckled down and plugged away.
I was getting up earlier and pinching time where I could. Instead of 9-months it took 14-months, but Shifting Horizons was finished along with 30% of Book 3, the final instalment, Creaking Dawn. What I soon realized, the shortening of my time wasn’t the hinderance I thought but it had in fact forced me to concentrate in ways I hadn’t before. I was being more strategic in my approach, conscious of wasting energy and precious time, and the winner wasn’t me, but my readers.
I believe Shifting Horizons is better, sharper and more exciting than A Grey Sun. It will be my readers and my reviews that will tell me if this is true or not. But whatever the outcome, the decision to start this project was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I have learnt something about myself at every step.
Like Ned, I had to deal with my frustrations. Like Ned, I had to continually step outside of my comfort zone. Like Ned, I found out who my friends were and my new actions revealed truths about them I didn’t’ know. Like Ned, I started to redefine what was important in my life and what wasn’t. Like Ned, the time pressure upped my pace, upped my action, making me feel more alive than I had in years.
As I wait for my first reviews, I wouldn’t change a single thing in the book, even the time it took to complete. And as much as I would have loved to have written it surrounded by white sands and azure seas, I have a sneaky suspicion that overcoming my obstacles under the grey clouds of London was a blessing. As Omar tells Ned in Shifting Horizons: our destiny is choice, not chance.