A little about how this book took so long, but still came to be.
My first book, “A Ragged Magic,” took either 20 years or 2 years to write, depending how you want to count it. So this book taking 8+ years to write and publish is either a vast improvement or a disaster. Perhaps both.
When “A Ragged Magic” was published in 2014, we were in the middle of several big changes. My first publisher closed up shop, my partner and I had to downsize from the house we were renting to a much smaller apartment due to financial concerns, and I was coming to terms with the idea that my fertility issues coupled with the financial concerns meant I might never be a parent. I was also coming to realize that many of my challenges and quirks throughout my life were actually the result of my undiagnosed neurodivergence: specifically, that I am autistic and have ADHD, and that my life circumstances, including beginning perimenopause, meant that those challenges were becoming … challengier.
In 2016, we were doing better financially and were moving out of the dark, cramped apartment we were in, but also the world was falling into a much worse dystopia than it was already, and my ability to cope with anything that I didn’t absolutely need to took a severe nosedive. Writing, already floundering, fell off my ability list completely. I could noodle with a scene here and there, but I could not find the narrative of the story I wanted to tell for Rhiannon, nor was I able to start anything new. I mostly wibbled to my loved ones and writing buddy and ate a lot of melted cheese and other assorted carbs.
About 3 years ago I started to pull it together, fiction-wise, and pull the story out of brain storage. I talked through it all with my current editor, the Marvelous Marti McKenna, and she helped me find some areas where I was already steering the story, and some ways to push forward that didn’t have to include all-everything-all-the-time, a problem that I was having. It still took *much* longer than I liked, but I was moving forward. Very, very slowly. And then 2020 happened.
Weirdly, while writing again took a nosedive for a bit, I bounced back more quickly and into the story during early pandemic than I thought I would. I don’t know if it was because I was already determined to finish the book, because I was further along, or because not seeing people freed my brain to see fictional people, but I did get my writing groove back enough to claw my way through my made-up world’s narrative. Perhaps it was not having that hellish commute to and from work every day. I found myself making progress; still very slowly, but moving slowly is moving, so I’ll take it.
Meanwhile, I was learning more about my neurodiversity, trying out coping mechanisms (some work, some don’t), and starting to feel a bit of (mild) hope about mitigating our societal collapse. My writing buddy and my partner-partner were both helping me as much as they could with plot holes, and I had an ending to the book I could feel good about (although no one else will, muahahahah).
After months and months of “how about they do this, no wait, no, this other thing” with my writing buddy, several serious rounds with my editor, (while wailing and gnashing my comma-laden teeth), and some final rounds with my partner-as-copy editor and publisher, I finally had a book. But a few months ago Scott said “hey, love the title you have here, but it should be the title of the final book. Let’s come up with a different title for this one,” at which I (metaphorically) collapsed on the ground and moaned and rent my clothes and cried out to the title gods in agony, because I absolutely suck at titles and was honestly looking forward to being able to take time to think of one for the 3rd book. Adding to my problems, I wanted it to be in the same ouvre, if you will, as the other titles; it had to be 3 words, have the middle word be something that rhymed or near-rhymed, or at least semi-jived with “ragged,” and didn’t sound stupid and twee.
I had nothing. Zip. I hated all words. None of them worked the way I wanted. I whined to many, many people, in hopes they would miraculously find a set of words I liked. Eventually it was my mother who saved me – thanks, Mom! She’s the best. She offered various near-rhymes at first to which, while trying to be diplomatic, I basically said “eehhhhhhh,” about. Then suddenly one morning out of nowhere she texted “how about “tangled” for the title?”
I blinked, stopped moving, thought it through. How *about* ‘tangled?’ How about it indeed? How did I not find that word before? It’s perfect!
So now you know my mother is better at titles than I am (someone needs to be). And also that I whine to her about my writing travails, but what is family for, after all?
And that is the story of how this book happened, even though it took a long time. I’m working on the 3rd book now, (upcoming title: “A Jagged War” — 😀 😀 ) hoping the things I learned while writing the middle book will help me. I know every new book is a new experience, and I know that my executive function problems and the world sliding into a new hellscape every couple months can slow me down, but I am still determined. “A Tangled Vision” is the culmination of a lot of hard work and a lot of determination over despair and brain challenges. The 3rd book will be that, and hopefully lessons learned and wars won, and maybe only take a year-ish. From now.
I can only work towards it, and hope. Thanks for sticking with me, everyone who loves me, and/or likes my writing. I hope “A Tangled Vision” brings you reader-joy.