Blogger’s Note: After a hiatus of a few weeks to focus on writing and work, I’m back with some final thoughts related to The Athena File.
Nothing about this novel has been easy. Nothing.
Not that I expected it. After all, when I went to my writers’ retreat at the end of February, the instructor made it very clear that, rather than be easy, opposition only increases when a novel is in production.
I agree with her. The whole concept for The Athena File began in March 2013 as I flew home from my first Mount Hermon conference in California. I developed the novel’s concept, but back then, it centered around David. I knew it wasn’t complete until I was able to come up with the character of Nabeelah. And that didn’t happen until June 2015. I have to thank Gayle Tzumach Lemmon for the hard work that went into creating Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield, which enlightened me regarding how women served in hard combat in Afghanistan, even if they weren’t listed as such.
I worked hard to revise the draft. During that time, life at my day job and on the personal side went crazy as I helped my parents make a big move from Fayetteville to Cary. But, I got the draft sent to my beta reader group last fall. Then I received comments. The message that came across loud and clear from one of the readers: You need to change the lead character from David to Abigail. Thankfully, I maintained a teachable spirit and did major surgery on the first half of the novel.
During that time, work at my day job didn’t slow down. Not a bit. And sadness hit the Haynie house when we lost Aspen in March. Naturally, I didn’t feel like writing. I was exhausted. Beaten down. And I had an April 1 deadline with my copy editor. Somehow, I made it, though it did take me another two or three weeks to completely recover.
So far as the production part, it’s was also a struggle. Cover ideas didn’t come easily. Neither has some of the marketing I’ve done as I’ve learned to exercise a new muscle. And getting the copy edits back and incorporating them wasn’t been easy, either, and consisted of a near-scare that I’d lost all of the changes I’d made.
I say all of this not to whine, but to provide you with an understanding that bringing a novel from manuscript format to what you hold in your hands or see on the screen isn’t easy. It’s often fraught with difficulty. But I rest in one thing. God gave me this gift of writing to use as a blessing. May this novel impact your life reading it as it did mine writing it.
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Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”