Guest Blogger: Amy Williams
When I held Nameless, my first published novel, in my hands in December 2014, I didn’t try to imagine the day when I would touch the final book in the trilogy. That first book had to sell enough copies to merit a second novel before I could even think about the third.
Well, at the end of this November, my first shipment of New Name, book three in the Destiny Trilogy, arrived, and for the first time it struck me just how much I had learned over the last three years.
When I first started working on Nameless, I was a 19-year-old kid at college a thousand miles away from home. It was a very different book back then, and I was a different person. There was so much I didn’t know.
The First Book
By the time Nameless was accepted at Steel Rigg Books, an imprint of Crosshair Press, the story had changed significantly from what it used to be. And that was okay with me. I had changed, so it only made sense my story would too.
I remember working on the edit of Nameless vividly. It was a difficult season of life for me at that time. The first round of major revisions I did on the manuscript actually took place at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
My mother had been ill for several years, and Mayo Clinic was our last hope for a diagnosis that made sense (praise the Lord, she’s so much better now). I’d taken off work to get her up there (because I still worked a more-than-full-time job in a marketing department).
I can still recall sitting in the waiting room at Mayo with my edited version of the manuscript and my laptop, making corrections and adding and deleting words while I listened for my mom’s name to be called. But I also recall feeling extraordinarily discouraged. Getting that first professional edit on Nameless back rocked my world. So much red ink. The pages were hemorrhaging.
It stung, but not like an insult. I wasn’t insulted that my manuscript needed so much work. I was ashamed. How could I even send something so dreadful? How could I even believe something so awful could be ready to be published?
Before my first professional edit, I had been blissfully ignorant. I didn’t think I was a great writer. I knew I needed work, but I thought I was good enough to impress an editor. That was a valuable lesson learned about the difference between knowing how to write and actually being able to write well.
Every trilogy has its rough spots, and let’s just say book two of the Destiny Trilogy was mine. But I knew it would be. Everyone hated The Empire Strikes Back when it was first released, and now it’s the most loved of the Star Wars movies. So that’s what I’m hoping is in the future for Namesake.
Namesake wrung me out. I used up emotions I didn’t even know I could feel writing that story. And when it was done and on the shelves, it just made people angry.
Seriously. One reader physically threw the book across a room. Another reader kicked me (only half joking) in the shins after she finished reading. And others left scathing reviews that would lead others to stop reading the series entirely.
But I was okay with that, because I knew where the story was going. And it didn’t matter what anyone else said. I’d see the story finished. I faced the hurtful reviews and the lower sales numbers with a confidence I’d never dreamed I could have.
The Third Book
Then, I started working on New Name, book three in the Destiny Trilogy. I knew it had to exceed everyone’s expectations. It had to be the best book in the trilogy, and I wanted to show those faithful few who’d held on through the pain of Namesake that their hopes weren’t in vain.
So instead of submitting the original manuscript I’d written in 2012 with only a few tweaks as I’d done with Nameless and Namesake, I rewrote New Name from scratch.
I started all over again. I kept a few integral scenes. But for the most part, everything was brand new. It was something I’d wanted to do for the other two, but I couldn’t because of my schedule. That was the biggest change for me during the writing of book three–my employment situation. For book three, I’d been self-employed for almost two years. That gave me the freedom and the focus to work on the novel at my convenience.
Another difference for me? My reaction to the edit. I didn’t feel ashamed when I got the revisions back. Instead, I was excited. And proud. And eager to get to work on the rewrite.
The first two books had taught me what I needed to change in my writing, and for the third book, I fixed the problems. And I was able to learn about other things I could fix. Throughout this wonderful process, I’ve learned to be a better, more confident writer. I know so much more now than I did three years ago, and I can’t wait to find out what I’ll learn next.
Nameless, Namesake, and New Name are available directly from my publisher, Crosshair Press/Steel Rigg. They’re also available on Amazon Kindle, or they can be ordered from Barnes & Noble. I’m doing a giveaway right now too, through Rafflecopter. Enter, and you might win the e-book!
And even though this trilogy is over, the Morningstar Series will continue. I’m already planning a second trilogy using the same characters.
Buy Links available at www.crosshairpress.com/newname
Amy Williams is a novelist, freelance writer, founding member of Crosshair Press LLC, and professional nerd. You can find most of her work under the name A.C. Williams, but she also writes young adult fantasy (The Legend of the Lightkeepers) under the pen name Kimberly McNeil. Amy is single and lives in her family’s 100-year-old farmhouse on five acres in the middle of the Kansas prairie. She loves cats and drinks far too much coffee.
Follow her random adventures on her blog (www.amycwilliams.com) on Facebook (AmytheStoryteller), Twitter (@acwilliams05), and Instagram (@acwilliams05).