You get some very odd feelings when you write ‘The End’ at the bottom of the final page. Elation, for sure. There’s a real sense of achievement when you reach the last few words, the feeling that wells up inside you shrieking and dancing, and yelling “I did this! I made this!” Quite heady and addictive, knowing that you’ve slogged on for (in the case of Taking Shield) close to half a million words, and your heroes have reached the end of their story. Or, at least, the end of the story you intend to tell about them. What they get up to outside the book covers is entirely up to them and we should probably shield (!) our eyes and look the other way.
So. Elation. Satisfaction. Triumph. A bit of #smugface, maybe.
And then there’s the sadness. Because if you’re anything like me, you love your characters to distraction. It’s a wrench to let them go off to editing without you and when they come back you cluck over them like an old mother hen while you polish and polish to make them gleam and glitter. It’s an even bigger wrench when they stare you mutinously in the eye and demand to let out into the big world out there. We’re ready, they say. Polish us any more and you’ll be down to the nubbins, woman! C’mon. Let us go. And you sigh and nod, and press the ‘publish’ button.
When you’re on the last book of five, when these characters have been a huge part of your writing life (in one form or another) for over a decade it is one ginormous, universe-wrenching pang of sorrow to write those final words and send your boys off to editing for the very last time. I feel quite lost, actually. A sort of creative empty nest syndrome.
Last week, I came to the end of the story Bennet and Flynn decided to tell me five books ago. It’s now in editing and I’ve been told, quite firmly, to stop picking away at it and let my editors do their job. And while a bit of me is dancing and singing at finally finishing, there’s a bigger bit that’s very triste and bitter-sweet and woebegone. I shall miss them both terribly, but it has to be done. I have to let them go.
So, for your diary:
Cover reveal 21 May
here and at various other blogs, with a series reminder tour happening between 21-25 May.
PUBLICATION DAY 28 June
Fly, my pretties! Fly!