My new release BOILING POINT is finished and ready to go. Whew! Of all the books I've written, this one required the most lashes to whip it into shape. When I finish a book, I always think it's wonderful--and I'm always wrong. I never seem to learn. Fortunately, I have a number of others to help point out the errors of my ways in no uncertain terms.
Previously, I'd been lulled into a false sense of competence by my editors with my former publisher. They were lovely people. They were gentle and supportive but recommended only minor changes. They didn't make me a better writer. I was always vaguely disappointed when I received a manuscript back without any substantive suggestions to improve the story or characters.
Well, let me tell you, that didn't happen this time. I received pages of very pointed comments, both from my editor and beta readers (my sisters). Fortunately, they addressed the very points that had been gnawing at me all along. For some reason, it's always easier for me to correct major errors when someone else sees them, too. I don't know--maybe I need to learn to trust my own judgement better.
My editor is brutal, but in the best possible way. Jannine, you know it's true. The first time we worked together, I was crushed when I received her notes and read through the manuscript. It wasn't easy to accept that after three published books, I was still such a beginner. This time wasn't much better, even though I knew what to expect. However, I try to learn at least one lesson from each book, and Jannine, you'll be proud to hear I found and corrected a few additional instances of "telling" on my own as I worked through the edits.
One of my sisters began her email, "Don't take this personally." That made me laugh out loud. How else would I take it? You can't separate the creator from her creation. For better or worse, I'd spent months laboring over that manuscript. Fortunately, she had some excellent suggestions for strengthening the secondary characters, and I was happy to use them.
The book that finally makes its way into the hands of readers next month is much stronger than the one I thought I'd "finished" a few weeks ago. I'm proud of it and eternally grateful to those who helped make it the best it could be.