Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Readers and Writers

I was trying to think of something interesting to talk about today and I came up empty. It's funny because I never run out of content on my own blog, but then I don't necessarily have a topic unless you consider what I did the day before as a subject and I really don't. I feel free to veer off wherever my mind wanders--and it wanders frequently.

Finally, I decided I'd talk about ETERNAL NIGHTS since it's released today. Then I thought, what can I say about this book that's different? It took a while, but I came up with an answer for this too.

So my topic for the day is: The Role Readers Played in the Existence of Eternal Nights

My first book was RAVYN'S FLIGHT and it took me 18 months to write it. The hero and heroine were literally in my mind every waking minute of every day for that entire stretch of time. I loved them dearly, but I was so tired of this story by the time I finished it and that permeated everything associated with this world. When I turned in galleys for RF, that was it as far as I was concerned.

Then RF was released and reader after reader after reader emailed me and asked for more. Some wanted Alex's story, others wanted Cam's, but the bottom line was they wanted more.

The characters were gone, though, so I told them that and promised I'd write more in this world if they ever returned. I never thought they would.

Then in 2004, I heard Alex's voice again.

He hadn't changed much since the last time we'd talked. Then I started getting images, scenes, dialogue and I jotted down notes as fast as I could. Everything was about Alex and Stacey until I tried to figure out what the external plot was.

That's when Wyatt and Kendall arrived. They turned out to be the hero and heroine in EN and I liked them--a lot. Wyatt was patient and sweet and determined as heck. He had a goal--Kendall--and he wasn't backing off.

Still, I was busy. I had a proposal making the rounds and I'd just been asked to participate in the Crimson City series, I really didn't have time to go back to Jarved Nine. But I'd promised all the readers who'd asked for more that I would do that if the characters came for the world. They had.

So I got to work, trying to squeeze in another proposal, this one for EN. It wasn't an easy story to get right. I had to balance what the reader needed to know with the pace of the story. The first version of the story's start was jettisoned and I began again. And again.

Even with all my work, my editor cut a lot out of the first three chapters when we did revisions. Or she had me cut. I lost my haircut jokes. :-( But the pace was faster and the person who hadn't read RF would still be able to follow the story.

So if you're a reader and wonder if your email has any influence, I can assure you it does--at least with some authors. Eternal Nights exists because of all the notes I received. I probably would have ignored Alex otherwise or maybe not even have heard him at all--my head was really crowded just then--but because so many readers cared I felt I had to listen.

I just hope the fans of my first book enjoy my latest. That's always a worry, and this time, doubly so. RF garnered a lot of dedicated fans. Will EN measure up?

Patti O'Shea
Eternal Nights - Available Today


Colleen Thompson said...

The cover is gorgeous, and I wish you all the best with the new release!

Patti O'Shea said...

Thanks, Colleen!

It was great to finally meet you in Atlanta!