Final Thoughts on the Athena File

Release date: June 21, 2016

Release date: June 21, 2016

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.

I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services I have mentioned.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255:
Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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1 Comment

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  1. Mary Felkins says:

    Loved reading your journey here. I feel your exhaustion. Praying for this to be what the Lord has purposed for it to be. Mostly, it’s changed you into more of His image. And that’s the best thing.