The first book, Forbidden Darkness, in my all new series The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles has been released. I’m scared. I’m nervous. I’m jumping for joy. I’m ready to cry. I’m all of the above, and I couldn’t be any more happy with how this all turned out.
I’m writing this blog post because many of you are actually misled about what the series is actually about, how I got the idea, and where it’s going from here (and how it turned into an 8 book series, which I’ll explain as well).
On the back of Forbidden Darkness there is this following quote, which I really, really like and has probably been the only line that has stayed the same throughout the six rewrites of the book.
Being a sixteen year old Monster Hunter sucks.
That sentence popped into my head when I was in 7th grade, not even near sixteen years old. I was at Boone Hall Plantation on one of the hayrides and remember not being scared, but being highly amused. Most scary things when I was a kid didn’t scare me, and I wanted the hayride to make my spine tingle. I think the most they got out of me was when I laughed at the guy dressed as a zombie getting in my face and I asked, “Hey, wanna go out?” When the hayride was over I got this idea for a series about Monster Hunters–and soon Forbidden Darkness began to badger me in my own mind.
There is no denying that this series is different than it originally was. When I first got the idea, it was about a guy named Lucas who was a Monster Hunter and was on a hayride one night. In the first draft, the Monsters would only come out on Halloween, so he found it odd that he noticed a Monster on the hayride. Of course, like the kickass dude that he was, he jumps off the hayride and goes into the woods to kick some Monster balls without anyone noticing him, and his sister’s best friend Heather shows up. (Keep in mind that the first draft was written in third person, so it was easy to jump from character to character.) The first draft was actually written in its entirety and at the time I loved it. I then continued on to make it a trilogy (the second books were titled Abandoned and Blizzard) but still didn’t have a name for the first book. After writing the three books, I stopped and took one great look at my series for what it was.
A big heaping pile of dog crap.
It was as if someone scooped up the dog crap, took a bunch of paper, and smeared it onto the page, and that was not cool. The story was great. The premise was fun. But the writing was the most god-awful thing I’d ever read; and I was the one who wrote it! It was embarrassing and I deleted it off my computer. And writers, before you chew me out for doing that, here’s the thing:
1. I was thirteen years old. Keeping my writing back then didn’t seem very important or necessary, and because I didn’t have wonderful little author friends to tell me to always keep my writing, I was naive.
2. It really was awful! I honestly have no fear to admit it because every writer’s first draft sucks. Every writer’s first draft of their first book is even worse and if you say that’s not true, you must really be fooling yourself. Go back and look at the first book you ever wrote. You’ll see.
To make a long story short, I wrote the book again…and again…and then again. It seemed like each time I was writing this book it wasn’t going anywhere. There was no theme. No message. No underlying story. It was just so flat, and while I liked the paranormal parts, I felt like it needed more.
So I stopped writing it. I basically put the first book in this series to the side in my mind (at the time there was still no title for the first book or for the series as a whole). I deleted the manuscripts and pretended the story didn’t exist, but something incredible happened, and I’m not sure if I’m the only person who’s had this happen. But it was amazing.
For three years the series was pushed to the side of my head and I was struggling with my own personal problems. My family was having issues, I was depressed and self-harming, and everything about my life was falling apart. I felt like most of the time I was stuck in a little world of depression and couldn’t break free. Not to get too far into detail here, but I attempted suicide. Three times in one year. Finally I was able to get the help I wanted and needed and am able to live a happier life because of it.
But that’s when the amazing thing happened. I got out of the hospital, and while I had the idea for Before I Break at the time too, the idea for this series came back to me all at one time. And WHOA, had things changed! There was literally 8 books worth of plot that sat in my head for three years, and with everything I’d gone through, I finally knew where to take the series.
So I wrote it again. At the time the working title was Negative Energy, and if you read the book now, you’ll see why that was a considerable title. After writing it that one time it felt good to get it all out. I tried to look for agents, all of whom rejected me, and it kinda sucked. A lot. So once again, I made the stupid mistake of deleting the manuscript.
I wrote Before I Break and after it came out, I needed to figure out what my next book would be. Of course, Negative Energy was something I wanted to get back to now that I’d made the decision to self publish, so I sat down one last time to write it. I named it Forbidden Darkness and named the series The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles. I knew this was the direction for me to go in–to blend in real problems like suicide and self-harm into a series with paranormal plots. It seemed almost too perfect.
Now here I am today, with the first book in this series out. Yes, the series will have 8 books but I can promise you it’ll be worth the ride. Stick around. It’ll be worth it in the end.
You can order Forbidden Darkness here.
And for those of you who haven’t seen, this is the beautiful cover done my author and editor, Nikki Rae.