That's right. I know you have all been waiting on Book Three news for a WHIIIILLLE now, and I'm sorry to tell you I've been sitting on some of it. I have the name and release date--which will be found in this post--and I hadn't shared yet.
I didn't know how to.
Part of that is for you guys--I like doing fun reveals and exciting moments so we can all celebrate together. I'm not great at celebrating, and that's a problem that I want to fix. But I also didn't know what to say about this book.
And then yesterday happened. Let me tell you a story.
The day started off inauspiciously--two friends and I were planning on driving to New Hampshire for a third friend's concert, and before we left, one friend got her laptop stolen. NOT COOL. But we decided to take Taylor's advice, shake it off, and go anyway.
It took us about an hour an a half of awesome chill chatting and driving to get there, and we were almost there, roughly an hour early, when we saw the Friendly Farm in New Hampshire. IT WAS AWESOME, and sun soaked, and we saw bunnies that were born THAT DAY and ones that were six days old and we held all kinds of animals and petted and fed even more.
Sweet--right? You might be asking yourself what this has to do with Scarlet #3. Good question.
So we left the Friendly Farm and followed our GPS. The road had gravel patches, and then was full gravel. And then it started getting really rough and uneven, but I have All Wheel Drive and hey, it's still a road, right?
Then we started pitching really hard from side to side. We hit some giant rocks and a mud pit that was about 18inches deep, but gravity and forward motion kept us going through it. It was rougher than expected, and we're all sitting there wondering how other cars are possibly making this drive ok. This was rough on an SUV.
And then it got worse. Bigger rocks, no clear way for the car to go, and we hit things and screamed and I am still lucky nothing popped or snapped--though I definitely thought it did at the time. We were all freaked out and it kept getting worse. The road was far too narrow to consider turning around, and now there was a sharp cliff on one side.
Then we came to a point with a roughly two foot high rock wall across the middle of the road. There was a sort of way I might have gotten over, but it was at risk of snapping the axle of my car. So, with terror and prayers, I turned around by ramming my car up a hill and trying to stop and turn before we flew off the cliff on the other side. We managed!
And then, on the way back, gravity wasn't on our side and we got stuck in the mud so deeply we couldn't even open our doors. Out of three cell phones, only one had any service to speak of.
The story ends happily--Triple A saved us by winching us out of the mud and dragging us up a hill. All safe--we even made the concert, and apparently this happens a lot because GPS thinks it's a road, and it's not really. Everyone was very empathetic (AND YET NO ONE WARNED US?!).
BUT WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH SCARLET?
Guys, Scarlet Three was the hardest book I've ever written. I sold it on an outline, and my outline failed me. I started writing before I entered grad school, and my head and heart weren't in the right place. I had opened myself to so many possibilities in my personal life that everything I did to try and close the story felt wrong.
I hit rocks and mud patches and bigger rocks, and at final count, I had to write 320,000 words to get to the final 80,000. That means by pretty unqualified math, I had to write this book four times to get one right.
It was hellish.
The thing I keep thinking about after yesterday is challenge. There were so many points at which we probably should have just turned around. But I didn't think it was possible--I thought this HAD to be the right way because other people did it. I thought challenges were something to overcome, not roadblocks.
When is it ok to stop and turn around, and when do we keep going? Sometimes it's not as easy as having a completely impassable road where the choice is made for you, and often if you get to that point, you've gone past the point of no return.
In writing Scarlet Three, I had lost trust in my own instincts. I couldn't feel when it was right or wrong, working or working against me. I forced my writing vehicle down the wrong road time and time again, only to find a rock wall.
And then, finally, I found the way out of the woods. And just like yesterday, when we found the right road, the sun was beginning to set and the green glory of New Hampshire burned golden and warm. It felt right and perfect in every inch of our bones.
Book Three is called LION HEART. It's the hardest thing I've ever worked on, and it's the single thing I am most proud of. I found a way to tell this impossible story, and I found my own lion heart somewhere along the way. It was a journey, a path, a trauma--and I certainly had my share of AAA people pulling me out of the proverbial muck--and I made it. WE made it, because ultimately, this book is both FOR and absolutely BECAUSE OF the wonderful fans, the heartfelt letters, and the love you guys have shown me.
For so many reasons, I really hope you love it, and that you find your own lion heart. You can preorder the book here (which is very much appreciated!), and it will be in your hands May 19th, 2015!
PS--one more animal picture!