Getting it on the Page

By Laura Drake

Motorcycle twoNot an hour ago, I hit, ‘Send’ on the galley edits for my biker chick book.  They’re in my editor’s inbox now, and I’m never going to have to reread that book again.  I’m grateful for that fact, and sad, all at the same time.

See, the idea for that story was the one that wouldn’t leave me, fifteen years ago. The one that was so strong, it forced me to push past my fear and inadequacy to put it down on paper. I knew almost nothing about writing. All I had was that burning idea and an education in storytelling forged of three decades of reading for pleasure.

Sam PhotoIt wrote it in a year and a half, then edited it 4,587 times (or maybe it just seems like that many.) Every time I learned something new, or got feedback from a reader, I edited it again. The story changed drastically along the way:  the hero morphed from a really tall redheaded veterinarian, to a brunette bad boy mechanic. The heroine changed from a big-boned brunette to a six foot tall blonde. The dog changed from a puppy husky mix to a full-grown bulldog that drools like a waterfall and farts like cannon-fire.

In the beginning, I thought the characters were the most important thing. What I’ve found over the years (besides little things like POV ;)) is that the characters weren’t as important as what I was trying to say – the essence of the idea that wouldn’t let me go until I wrote it down, and got it right.

I thought it was done, when Harlequin’s Superromance line bought it. But when my amazing editor, Wanda Ottewell, got hold of it, it became something else yet again. But the changes she urged me to make didn’t change the story, or the characters. It distilled my ideas, cutting away the fog and the fat – distilling it down to exactly what I wanted to say to begin with. It was if she read what was in my mind, and showed me where I should put it, on the page.

Her Road Home will be released in August. I’ve written 3.5 books since I started this one, but in a way, I’m prouder of this one than any of them.

I’m so happy to never have to read that book again. And, at the same time, I can’t wait for it to come out in book form, so I can read it, one more time.

House with Porch Swing

Not the cover, but it’s what I would have chosen!