My third novel, “What I Learned That Summer,” is officially in the hands of five friends and beta readers. It was a two-year-long journey that began with an idea about 22 years ago.
It took a while for Kincaid Walsh to come to life for the story. I also resurrected the character of Joseph, who was originally featured in the first drafts of “Jordan’s Sister” and “Just Taylor,” which were inspirations for the novel that became simply “Jordan’s Sister” with (almost) a completely new storyline. Poor Joseph just didn’t fit in the updated world for the sisters.
I have difficulty throwing away any of my writing, so there’s a chance I may pull from those first drafts sometime in the future. The Joseph I pulled from older stories was a perfect fit for Kincaid’s new friend and love interest. I can’t wait to share her story with everyone. I shared a very early draft of the first chapter here 18 months ago. While the chapter has been polished and edited, the general opening is the same.
After I hear back from my beta readers, I will compile their collective comments and decide what still needs work in my novel. Once the updates are made, I will print the novel and do a heavy proofreading session. Ideally, this novel will publish in August!
I am also working on the book cover. It will feature a sunset I painted around the same time I started writing the novel.
The most difficult part of making the book cover is writing the blurb for the back of the book. It’s also one of the most important things. The cover has to grab people, and the blurb has to convince them to read the story. I plan to work on that while I am waiting on my friends to read the story.
Waiting to hear back is stressful. I want my friends to love the story and the characters as much as I do. I had to love Kincaid extra hard while writing her story because she’s more “me” than my first two lead characters of Caroline and Taylor. I always put a little “me” into everything I write, but Kincaid is definitely the closest to my own personality. Plus, she wants to be a writer when she grows up. How cool is that?
I’ll let everyone know when the book is published.
-Brandi Easterling Collins