Regular readers of Linda’s Book Bag will know I love to feature authors I’ve actually met and today I’m delighted to be welcoming Rita Brassington whom I met at a recent author and blogger event. Lovely Rita agreed to write a guest post for the blog which you can read below, but first I’d like to tell you more about Rita’s psychological thriller The Good Kind of Bad.
The Good Kind of Bad
Secrets don’t stay secret for long…
She spent her whole life being the perfect daughter, the perfect girlfriend, and was all ready to become the perfect wife. But after ditching her fiancé at the altar and escaping to Chicago, she marries smouldering stranger Joe Petrozzi three weeks after meeting him in a bar. At least this time, there’s no chance of cold feet. Married life starts out great: there’s the new job, a gorgeous, enigmatic husband and money’s not an issue.
So what if she’s kept a few secrets from Joe – like where all her money came from. Joe’s been keeping secrets from her, too.
But his might just get her killed.
The Good Kind of Bad has just been selected as one of Heat Magazine’s Top Five Reads too!
The Art of Letting Go
A Guest Post by Rita Brassington
When I started writing, I knew I was going to finish the book. Though I wasn’t so sure it would ever go further than my laptop screen. Last year, it did, and The Good Kind of Bad, my psychological thriller/crime novel, was launched into the world – ten years after I first put pen to paper. Yes, the road to letting go was a long one.
I first had the idea for the book in 2004, when I was in America’s Mid-West at St. Louis airport. I’d been visiting friends I’d made while studying abroad, and distinctly remember the feeling of being in an alien environment but surrounded by familiar faces. This idea of the other, or the age-old fish-out-of-water scenario popped into my head. I looked up at the airport departure boards, the people queuing for flights or sleeping in chairs and I wondered about their stories, what led them to be there. I saw a flight leaving for Chicago, wondered about who was on it, and I thought ‘what would happen if you left your whole life behind and started again?’
When I arrived home, I started formulating ideas though only began writing the year after, once finishing my degree. That summer I began to write, with a loose plot in my head, and thought I’d let the writing take me in whatever direction felt right. I’ve never suffered with writer’s block, not that it means whatever flows from my fingers is liquid gold, far from it. When I did start writing the book in 2005, it took nine months to finish it. Great, I thought. I’ve done it. I’ve written a book. The hard part came next. Editing. My great hurdle in the art of letting go.
Editing is the reason it took ten years to get the book out. In a way, I’m glad I waited. The literary landscape during that time changed beyond recognition. With the advent of social media, self-publishing, eBooks, bloggers etc. it has widened the scope and possibility for writers of all genres. My procrastination did have an upside.
Many times over the ten years I tried to let go. I sent it to a few agents, re-edited time and again, but it never felt like the right time. Life got in the way. I was never totally happy with the manuscript, and that was the key. In every draft it was always missing something. I went back to the drawing board and thought about what the story was about. Did it make sense? Did the characters make sense? Was I ever going to let go?
Then in 2013, I uploaded the book to Wattpad, the story sharing website with ten million users or so. In the space of a few months, I clocked up two million reads. People liked it. They gave me usable feedback. I changed things. Added sections. Though what it truly gave me was the authority to say, ‘the book is good. People like it.’
What had been missing from my book before wasn’t necessarily the words, but the permission I wouldn’t give myself, to believe I had written something someone else would want to read – to take it seriously.
I hired an editor, who also tore the book to pieces, but holding the book in my hand was becoming more real. I hired a cover designer, Jamie Keenan (who’s an award-winner, no less). For me, it was always about the finished, polished version of what had once started as an idea, almost a challenge to myself to see if I could do it – to see if my twenty-year-old self could write a book. All that time, I was waiting for the book to be finished, where I could reconcile with myself and truly say I was done. The book was finally perfect.
That day never came. It still isn’t finished. There’re still bits I’d love to change, even though I can now pick my own book off my bookshelf, nestled between Joyce Maynard and Paula Hawkins (ha!). Though I don’t think any book will ever be finished. There will always be new readers to carry on the story, to think up new scenarios for when the words run out.
That’s the best thing about letting go. There’s always someone to bring it back.