by: Staci Stallings
You may think that being a romance author is all about reclining on a couch, eating grapes as you spin stories of wonder, love, and romance. I would love to tell you that is the truth, but for me at least, it is not.
Instead, it is dragging myself out of bed in the morning, getting my (last) child to school, coming home, and still dressed in whatever I happened to pick up from the floor in the dark, plopping myself down in my chair and trying like mad to remember something I thought of at 3 in the morning that I just KNEW I was going to remember at the time but that now has disappeared completely.
That’s part of it anyway. The other is one-part knowing you’ve done this in the past and three-parts having absolutely no idea how to do it now. Somehow my writing life always seems to hover over that ephemeral “whole” like Jell-O over a flame—precarious and sure not to last much longer.
There are many things about what I do that I simply can’t explain. I can’t explain them to you nor to other authors who I would truly like desperately to package this “how-to” and hand to them tied with a bow. For example, how to know precisely how a book will be written from start to finish, how it will turn out, if it will turn out, and how a single book turns into a sequel or a five-book series.
Honestly, I don’t know how that happens…. At least for me.
Take the series I’m working on right now.
I remember how it started about seven years ago. It was one small idea. A piece of his life experience that fit perfectly with a piece of hers. It seemed so simple at the time, and the first book was. When I got to the end of Book 1, I thought that’s all there was. THE END, and it’s done. Move on to the next project.
Then I got up the next morning, and I knew more of the story that I had thought was finished. So, to humor myself, I started writing Book 2—like five years ago.
Now, like I’ve said, I don’t understand anything about my writing life, how things work, why God chooses to start and stop projects much like the pillar of fire or the cloud in the desert. All I know is that things work better when I follow, going when He says, “Go.” Stopping when He says, “Stop.”
So about 100 pages in, Book 2 suddenly stopped—for like FIVE YEARS. During that time, I would think about the story. I loved what I had down, and I even knew certain pieces of how it would go going forward, but for whatever reason, those pieces stayed locked in my heart and mind until the middle part of January when my sister dragged me to the movie, “The Greatest Showman.”
I know I’m not the only artist in the world who was somehow set free with watching that movie, but it “gave me the key” and unlocked this story in a way I had not expected. After the release of The Hope Series and putting “For Love’s Sake” up for preorder, I was kind of floundering and trying to decide what to work on next. A day after watching the movie, I knew which one.
And now, here I am just a few weeks later, not just writing “The End” to Book 2, but fully ready to jump into Book 3, can’t wait to write Book 4, and in awe that there will be a Book 5 I didn’t even know about.
So what’s it like for me to be an author?
It’s a lot like being on a roller coaster in the dark. You never know what’s coming next, so you get really good at just holding on for the ride!
While you wait for this new series to hit the virtual shelves long about August, here’s another series that took me by surprise. Enjoy!
(Click on a Cover to read more about that Title!)