On Writing “Shadows”

My guest today is Joan De La Haye, author of Shadows and co-founder of Rebel e Publishers. Joan writes:

I started writing Shadows a few years ago. I was in the middle of editing and finishing off another book, which is now collecting dust in the back of a drawer, when the idea for Shadows hit me. In fact it did hit me, in the middle of the night, in the guise of a very freaky nightmare.

I decided that since it frightened me, it probably would also frighten others. I couldn’t go back to sleep so poured a glass of wine, switched on my old computer and started writing a story that seemed to come from somewhere else. It was one of those rare moments when the muse strikes and there’s just no arguing with her or in this case him. The story just flowed out of my fingers and onto the keyboard.

I spent a year working on the first draft. This time I took Stephen King’s advice and wrote with the door tightly shut. I’d made the mistake with my previous book, the one that’s collecting dust, and allowed too many people to influence it. As a result it ended up not being my book.

The first draft was only Sarah’s story and written from her perspective. It ended up being way too short, so I added Kevin’s story and tied them together. They fitted together seamlessly, but there was still something missing from the story. I couldn’t figure out what it was until I sent it off to a local publisher. The submissions editor loved it, but said that it was too short and she then suggested that I added some additional scenes.

The additions she suggested were all great and incredibly helpful, but she also got me thinking about another side. One I hadn’t even thought about. Carol’s story was written in a matter of days. I couldn’t focus on anything else until her story was written. Shadows became the interwoven story of three very flawed individuals struggling with their own demons.

I re-submitted it to the local publisher, who then unfortunately didn’t like the extra scenes that they’d requested. It wasn’t what they’d wanted. It took a year from my original submission to the day the publisher passed on Shadows.

Needless to say I was devastated. I’ve never been very good in handling rejection. What I did to get over the rejection can be found on Pat’s other blog: Book Marketing Floozy.

See also: Pat Bertram Introduces Jack, the Torment Demon from Shadows by Joan De La Haye

15 Responses to “On Writing “Shadows””

  1. Joan De La Haye Says:

    Hi Pat,
    Thank you so much for having me here. You have a wonderful blog!

    Joan De La Haye

  2. Roxanne Smolen Says:

    It’s a wonderful feeling when your characters write the book. Best of luck to you.

  3. GABixler Says:

    Sounds like a good…and bad…beginning. Interestingly, I too dreamed a story and wrote it down immediately. I’ve had some people read it and suggest “more”! I guess you only have a certain dream time and it’s not enough for a full-length novel! One day, maybe for mine… BUT, congratulations for making it through the hardships and getting your book published! And thanks for sharing with us here!


  4. highlandlove Says:

    What a great post and Blog Pat!!!!


  5. A. F. Stewart Says:

    The road to getting published certainly can have twists.
    Good luck with everything.

  6. Chester Campbell Says:

    Hi, Joan. Interesting story. I’m afraid I don’t remember enough of my dreams to write anything down. You got the book published, though, by doing the thing I list as first in importance–persist. That’s my addition to the Beatitudes. Blessed are the persistent, for they shall become published.

  7. Amellia Says:

    I feel awful when I don’t recognize an author’s name or the book…this is one of those times (hanging head). I have to say from reading above…you have my attention, and I’m headed to find out more.

    But you have me thinking. I heard something “somewhere” that publishers push authors to write books that the public would be interested in. (Oh, I wish I could remember where I heard this) anyway, an example would be a book about a kidnapping in Hong Kong is the authors idea…but the publisher will come back and say, “no, you need to write about Australia, and it needs to be a love story about a women from the US falling for a man who owns an gator farm.” WHAT? But really, I heard publishers will change the story 180 degrees and want the author to change the story all together. After reading what you wrote, it has me wondering how much authors really write from the heart, and how much they are “told” what to write. Now that I’ve taken too much time…have a great day!

  8. Joan De La Haye Says:

    Thank you so much!
    Roxanne, you’re so right. It is a wonderful feeling when the characters write the story.
    Glenda – Good luck with writing your story. It’s amazing what comes out during our dreams.
    Thanks A.F.

  9. Jane Kennedy Sutton Says:

    Enjoyed the post and I could identify so well with the topic and your view.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  10. Pat Bertram Says:

    Thank you all for stopping by and giving Joan such a warm welcome.

    It’s been a pleasure to have you, Joan.

  11. Joan De La Haye Says:

    Thanks Pat! It’s been fantastic being here!

  12. Rod Marsden Says:

    rejection is always hard. You would think it would get easier with age but it doesn’t. Every writer worth anything experiences the muse. characters can write the story and they will stop you from writing rthem out of character, too!

  13. Charlotte Phillips Says:

    Great post Joan. Can’t wait to read about how you overcame rejection. I just hate those letters!

  14. June Bourgo Says:

    I am so glad I found your blog Pat. It is so interesting and so encouraging. Joan, I feel your rejection. When you put your heart and soul into a story and an editor rejects it, it is hard to stay postive. Thanks for sharing and congrats on getting it published. Now on to read your piece about rejection.

  15. Heidi Thomas Says:

    How disappointing. Rejection is a dejecting thing.
    Good luck with your tour and marketing Shadows!

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