Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Thankfully...Midnight Confessions



Thankful Thursdays...

March 1 and my newest release comes out today. For this, I am grateful. Midnight Confessions was not what some of us call "gimme books", but I got to write it exactly the way it was conceived, which in itself is something for which to be thankful. The situation, some of the characters, the idea of a heroine living with ghosts. Salacious ones, at that. It all came to me at once.

I was at a writing retreat, something the four us call "The Red Door." For a few years now, we've been getting together quarterly for weekend retreats. When one of us (we all write different types of stories in different way)needs to come up with a new idea we'll sit away from the others and use 4x6 cards to prime the pump of creativity. Random words appear in our heads and we jot them, one word per card until we have about 8 or 10 cards. To brainstorm ideas we take the cards back into the group and simply say them out loud one at a time.
The only rule we have is that we don't invest anything in the words themselves. Unlike having a proposal or synopsis to work on, we have nothing but abstract thoughts/words/ideas. It's an amazing process. Simple but effective.

We jot notes on the others' reactions to the words. This works incredibly well. The author with the cards will often develop a thread to a story this way. No defense maneuvers are taken because nothing is invested in the thread. No one holds back comments because since nothing is invested we're not going to step on toes or hijack an idea or try to put our own direction on someone else's story. It's a perfect, clean, clear brainstorming tool.

Except for Midnight Confessions, a concept that landed almost fully formed as I sat in the small backyard, pen poised over my first card, clearing my mind so *one* word could appear to me. Instead, I got the entire concept for the novel (which ended up being the first of a series).
I tried to put random words on my cards, I really did. But no matter how I tried to avoid investing in this idea I only put down words on my cards that followed the haunted mansion theme, the idea of ghosts who refused to leave, a madam with her own agenda, a heroine at a crossroads.
Lucky for me my band of pen warriors understood that when I walked back in from the garden I already had a thread...more than that...and everything we talked about enhanced what had come to me while jotting my words.
So, Red Door pen warriors I am eternally grateful for you. And for that particular day when I bent the only rule we have for that exercise.

Although I felt I had something precious in my head, I was still unsure what my editor would think. Dark paranormal being all the rage, I wasn't sure she'd like the lighter tone I brought to my ghost stories. She didn't even blink! Gave me the go-ahead on nothing more than an email that use: A gleam in my eye...in the subject line.

Freedom to write the story as I saw it, was a gift I'll never forget.
And so, now, today, Midnight Confessions is released to the world.
And I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to bring it to the page in much the way I first envisioned it. It was much easier to conceive the book than it was to write it, but with some of the kind reviews I've been getting, I think I just may have pulled it off.

Is that a "gimme book"? I don't know, but I'm not sure I'll see the like again.
Bonnie Edwards

7 comments:

JoAnn Ross said...

Bonnie,

First of all, congratulations on Midnight Confessions' release! Publication day is always a special day! (Hopefully you're not spending yours at the dentist as I did on Tuesday.)

And what a beautifully romantic cover! That's a tricky line, having nearly naked people in an embrace, and keeping it romantic, but your publishers' art department definitely pulled it off!

That's also such a fabulous thing when the writing gods just hand us a story, nearly full blown. (It's my belief that they take pity on us from time to time. *g* Unfortunately they still expect us to write it, but still. . . )

And how great that your editor told you to just go for it. (You know, you're right. You have a LOT to be thankful for these days, lol) That absolute freedom seems to be happening less and less these days as many editors and houses seemingly are becoming more and more "niche" minded.

Out of 90 plus books, I've had nine of those gifts (some fairly easy to write, others more difficult), but I've always been hugely grateful for each and every one. So, I've no doubt you'll receive more. Just when you don't expect it. And hopefully, just when you need one.

Nancy Morse said...

Congratulations on the release, Bonnie. Beautiful cover. And isn't it wonderful when something feels like it was handed to you on a silver platter? I had one such book in which everything just fell into place. It began with a childhood memory of a carousel my parents used to take me to. I always wanted to do a story with the carousel at its center and one day, I mean literally one day, it all came to me. Not so lucky with all the others though. It gives me hope that another such story will one day fall into my lap like manna from heaven.

Bonnie Edwards said...

Arrgh! I responded to these posts first thing but nothing's showing up. And another writer told me the same thing.

First off, thanks JoAnn and Nancy for noticing the great cover. Snuggly and happy, my couple looks content being naked together. (g)

Love the carousel image, Nancy...I'm glad it turned into the story you always wanted.

Bonnie

Samantha Hunter said...

What a beautiful book! Love the cover -- congrats on that! I'm intrigued... another one for the TBR!

Great experience, the "gimme" -- never to be underestimated. I had that with About Last Night... and it is a nice feeling. I think that comes around every now and then, so even while we dredge through some of the ones in between, I hope we can all look forward to more "gimmes" in the future. ;)

Sam

EC Sheedy said...

Bonnie, big congratulations on your release day! Midnight Confessions is a great book, and you're going to be hearing lots more good things about it in the months to come.

As one of your Red Door buddies, I get a real kick out of having a peek at the seed of a book, then seeing it grow and spill over into publication. I remember how sure you were about this book from the get go--and your confidence has paid off.

Small whine alert: I've never yet had a damn gimmee!
EC

Bonnie Edwards said...

You'll get one, EC. You're due, really!

JoAnn's had, what? One in ten? Those are great odds in this business...

Oh, and Without A Word was scary, sexy and I held my breath most of the way through in spite of knowing who did what...

Bonnie

Sierra Donovan said...

Congratulations, Bonnie. I love a lighter-toned paranormal, too. I'll be looking for this one!!

Sierra