Look, I don't think I need to tell you that writing is damn hard. But just in case you forgot or didn't know... Writing is damn hard.
Every time a writer sits down with a pen and notebook or the blinking cursor mocking them, they are at the beginning of a new adventure. One where they have the ability to build entire worlds, bring to life characters only their mind has previously seen. Every time a writer starts this adventure, they do it for the love and passion of writing stories. Of crafting sentences. We don't do it expecting praise or money or fame. We bleed onto the page so that we can free ourselves of the bursting desire to constantly be creating.
Sometimes writing certain stories is like watching magic dance across the page or the screen. This was certainly the case for Whiskey and a Gun. Carter's voice came to me fully formed. Ready to be written and explored.
But Tawny. She's been a slippery one. She is like a child who refuses to conform. Desperate to cling to individuality and nuisance.
I know so many of you have waited patiently (and many impatiently) for The Finish. I posted THIS update in April, but the truth is... I've struggled to write Tawny's story from day one.
From the minute Whiskey was unleashed on the world, The Finish became the book that couldn't be written.
Oh, but I tried. God, did I try. Want to know how badly I wanted to write the best damn version of The Finish?
5.5 Rewrites, over 200k words of useless material.
Every draft I thought I may be closer and every time I finished a draft, I felt worse and worse about it. Then I started to get messages asking when it was coming out and I'd tailspin into a depression because I wasn't just letting myself down... I was letting my readers down. The people I never ever in a million years want to let down.
But here's the thing about me... I am not in this for the money. I'm not in this to make a quick buck (ha) or get my name on a list. I have wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. It means more to me than almost everything else in this world. So I cannot, under any circumstances, release something I'm not proud of.
It's not fair to you or to me. I want you to know that when you hold a book in your hand that's written by me... It's because I have done the best I can on it. I have spent every last waking minute making sure it is up to my standards and yours.
So, that, my friends, is why The Finish still isn't out. Not because I don't respect my readers or because these other projects are more important. It's because Tawny has required so much more care and handling than any of my other characters. She's a special breed and I wanted to give her the story she deserved. The story she really wanted to tell. Regardless of how long it took.
And I'll be honest - writing Whiskey and a Gun was hard on me emotionally - especially writing it from the POV of domestic abuser. But writing The Finish (in all it's incarnations) has been emotionally draining, exhausting and depressing.
Researching domestic abuse statistics, case studies, survivors, deaths, legal cases, documentaries, true crime reports. I can't even begin to tell you how utterly spent I am. Now, I know it's my own fault - I chose the topic, but that's just it. After hearing story after horrific story - there was no way I couldn't explore it further. There was no way I could keep my mouth shut on the tragedy that is domestic abuse. There just wasn't a way for me to forget and unsee all the terrible things I'd researched.
I'm asking you, dear readers, to keep in mind how hard this book has been on me. I'm throwing an SOS line out and asking that when you're reminded that the date has been pushed back or that you've had to wait longer than you wanted: that this is not a typical novel. It is not a sweet love story with a happy ending. This is not a book that could be written in thirty days, six months, close to one year. This is a book that has required days and days of heart-crushing depression. This is a book that has had me on the edge of quitting writing all together.
Maybe I shouldn't be telling you this. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut and let everything run it's course...but I owe you more than that. I owe you an explanation. And that's why I *STILL* don't have a definitive date for you. I can tell you that this new rewrite I'm working on is THE CLOSEST I've come to having something I would give to you all. It's the most alive and vivid Tawny has been. It's also been the most heart-wrenching and difficult version to write. Because I go there, you know?
All those #whyistayed tweets that have been flooding Twitter since the Ray Rice situation? I already wrote about all of those damn reasons in The Finish. Tawny's story lives in those tweets.
When I look back at my writing career, I want to look back knowing that I treated every book with the proper care and handling that it deserved, even if that means a book takes longer to write than others. I know you guys deserve THE BEST book I can deliver and that's why I'm apologizing that it's taking so long.
If you want to email/message me upset, please feel free. I will understand. I know that it sucks to have to wait for something that was promised and I know it shakes your trust in the author, and for that I'm truly, deeply sorry. I will never make that mistake again in promising something I'm not sure I can deliver on.
Not that this is any consolation... but here are a few unedited teasers from this latest version. The version I feel is doing Tawny and Carter justice. I hope you all will stick with me. Because I PROMISE you, it will be worth the wait. <3