It took eight years to get my original idea into a printed book. Through three screenplays, two 13-episode television series scripts, two novels that were scrubbed and four novellas that were augmented, Kneel & Prey, the kick off of the Gabby Wells Thriller series, is finally complete.
It was a long journey with far more twists and turns than I ever could have imagined. It took over 100 drafts and 500,000 words to retrain my brain from writing screenplays to novels. It required the constant love and an insane level of patience from my daughter, Dorothea, to help me form my ideas into a page-turning young adult thriller.
It has been a difficult and rewarding journey.
I first came up with the Gabby Wells character in 2007 as the lead in a movie trilogy for a film company I had started. A year later, when the economy died and financing evaporated, I continued to write as much as possible, preparing for when the money returned. During that time I considered penning a television show and decided Gabby Wells was the perfect character to use, writing 26 episodes of her life before the movie trilogy.
As the years passed and the film possibilities were slow to return, I looked for another avenue to share my stories. It was about this time independent publishing came into its own and it wasn’t hard to figure out which character I should explore in this new medium.
So, I sketched out five novels based on the two TV seasons and three movies. I wrote the first two and, by the time I had finished them, realized I had become a vastly better writer during the process. So, I tossed the novels out and started over. About this time I learned about publishing funnels and marketing and pricing and discoverability. So, I wrote four novellas, tossed one and expanded three into novels.
What I thought would take six months took nearly 18 and after all of that work and retraining and fine tuning and mastering, I still needed a new story to introduce readers to the Gabby Wells character. That’s when Kneel & Prey came into being.
Drafts and rewrites followed doubts and satisfaction. Months passed. Feedback from Beta Readers, both adults and teens, poured in and adjustments were made and chapters added. Characters were explored and the story fine tuned.
I made online acquaintances with successful independent authors, all of whom helped and one of which introduced me to his book cover designer. A flurry of emails later I had my book cover. Months after that I completed my first novel.
In between those various rewrites there were a lot of non-writing tasks, like creating this website, this blog, two podcasts, newsletter templates and marketing strategies. I had to learn how books were published, how to output my files into ebook and print book formats. I taught myself how to make a book that would work on Createspace for printing and, when that was done, the proof copy of my first novel arrived in the mail.
I felt like a child during Christmas morning and when my wife held the novel in her hands for the first time, her eyes relayed her excitement. This character I had been talking about for almost a decade and this story I had been working on for nearly a year was finally a real book.
Flipping through pages full of words I conjured in my head made me forget the long and exhausting path it took to get there because something swimming around in my brain had actually become a tangible book.
Looking through that proof was one of the most satisfying creative moments of my life. In order to finish Gabby’s story, I only need to repeat this process a few more times. Eight, to be exact.
I can’t wait to see all nine books in the series lined up on my bookshelf at home, one after the other. Like the test copy of Kneel & Prey, it will be proof it was worth it.
The book will be available April 20, 2015.