Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh! Dreamfire is available in stores and online starting today!
For my first real blog post, I thought I'd say a little about the origins of Dreamfire. As I've said elsewhere, I began the first draft while undergoing radiation therapy for cancer. I had just turned eighteen, I'd had to take a semester off from college, and I was feeling like crap. I was cold and exhausted all the time, I couldn't sleep, and worst of all, I couldn't think! I had been working on a research project on The Animorphs book series, which is written for middle graders, and I couldn't even follow the plot.
I needed a distraction, but every time I tried to work on one of my stories, I felt like I was making the story worse. So I decided to start something new. It didn't have to be good, it didn't have to make sense, and I didn't have to finish it. This new story would just be something to help distract me.
I began the story with a girl named Josh. Not surprisingly, she was in just as much pain as I was. My first vision of the story was just Josh saying, "My full name is Joshlyn Dustine Hazel Weavaros. Today is my seventeenth birthday." That was all I had, so I started there. I based Deloise on my own sister, and when I'd finished the first third - up through the amusement part nightmare - I printed it out, bound it, and gave it to my sister to read. She was sixteen at the time.
"What do you think?" I asked her when she finished it. "Should I keep going?"
"Definitely," she said. She's still my favorite beta reader.
The first draft took me ten months to write. That was longer than I expected, but I started back to college in the fall, and I took some time off to work on a hilarious fan fic about people who could turn into courgars. (If only I had been able to write the sequel as quickly! But I'll talk about that later.)
This is hardly the end of the story of how Dreamfire came to be. Over the next weeks or months, I'll say more about that fifteen-year process. But what's the lesson to be learned from Dreamfire's origins? Hope. Writing that first draft gave me hope that, no matter how sick I was, my life was still worth living as long as I could write. Hope, too, for Josh, that her heart and her confidence could be healed.