Friday, 18 April 2014

"Between Before and After" - Teaser

As we get closer and closer to the release date for "Between Before and After" (scheduled for June now, if you missed it), I thought I'd share a teaser with you.  Keep in mind this is an un-edited teaser!  It's from chapter one.  Feedback welcome - hope everyone is looking forward to reading this story as much as I'm looking forward to sharing it with you :)

by Amanda Dick

**Un-edited Teaser**

"The three hour ferry ride across the Cook Strait from Wellington had been fairly smooth, as far as sailings go. Max Lonergan had certainly experienced worse in the almost ten years he had been making this journey. He had spent the time sitting as far away from the many cafes and eateries as possible, trying to distract himself by watching the horizon and reading the newspaper. He couldn’t remember the last time he had read the paper. The big wide world didn’t interest him anymore. Over the past three years, he had withdrawn from it, slowly and surely. The withdrawal was so complete, he didn’t even miss it now. Not the rush-hour traffic or the deadlines, not the planning for upcoming holidays or the latest cellphone, not even the Friday night drinks or the messy weekends that inevitably followed. No more kissing up to his boss, no more schmoozing the secretaries. Now he was on his own schedule. Gone were the suit and tie with matching expensive leather loafers. His corporate attire these days consisted of jeans, work boots, bush-shirts and hi-visibility jackets. Instead of drinks in the boardroom or a swanky cocktail bar, he had drinks in the shearing shed or leaning on the back of the supervisor’s truck. Over the past three years, his whole life had changed. He had changed. His priorities had shifted, his outlook on life had skewed, tilted sideways. The death of someone close to you had a habit of making you reassess how you spent your remaining days on this earth.
Just as he remembered, the paper was full of bad news. Disgusted, he folded it up and set it aside. He ran a hand through his brown hair, roughing it up so that it stood on end just a little bit more. He was overdue for a haircut. His usual short-back-and-sides had somehow morphed into a shaggy, wavy mass. Any kind of length just seemed to add volume. Somehow, over the last few months, a haircut had slipped through the cracks.
The smell of food turned his stomach, and he concentrated on his black coffee instead. Luckily for him, breakfast had never been a necessity. He was used to being up this early, having done a variety of short-term jobs that had altered his body-clock. Sheep shearing, forestry work, fruit picking, kiwifruit pack-houses – all ran on a different schedule to the office-bound nine-to-fivers. That was one of the reasons he had chosen to take the early run, the first ferry bound for Picton. It suited him. A shaft of guilt stung him momentarily. Maybe he should have contacted Kate to find out what ferry she had booked on. If she was flying down from Auckland to catch the afternoon sailing she usually favoured, he didn’t want to be in the position of having to kill time in Wellington waiting for her. Cities were most definitely not within his comfort-zone – not anymore. It was true what they said about feeling lonelier in a crowd.
He had meant to call her and touch base. Hell, he had meant to call all of them, but somehow it always kept falling to the bottom of his To Do list. Honestly, he wasn’t even sure until the day before yesterday that he was going to come this year. Each anniversary seemed to get harder, not easier. With the way he was feeling lately, he had purposefully kept away from everyone, telling himself he wouldn’t be good company. Yet here he was, bobbing up and down in the Cook Strait, in limbo between islands like some kind of metaphor.
His regular life – the one he lived daily – was mostly solitary, and he liked it that way. His old life, the one he had left behind along with the suits and swanky bars, also held his friends. They were the people he loved most in this world and for them, for three days, in exchange for that sense of belonging, he could pretend to be whole."

Hope you enjoyed the glimpse - feel free to share this post!


Friday, 11 April 2014

The Birthing Process

Wow, time flies!  Let's see if I can fill you in on what's been happening since I was last here. Well, a lot, to be honest. Most notably, I have been writing/revising/editing (those lines always seem to blur for me) a hell of a lot over the past month. So much so, that I'm nearly at the end of my first major revision/edit of "Between Before and After". Woot! I have about 10,000 words to write, then I'm ready to go back to the beginning and tighten it up, getting it ready for it's visit to my editor in early May.

That means I've been pulling some long hours again. Last night, I got to bed around 1am and I just could NOT sleep. My brain was wide awake, even though my body was exhausted. I am *this* close to finishing this part of the process, and it's exhilarating! As I lay there, counting sheep, I mulled over this journey.

It's very like birthing a baby, this writing business. You can feel this baby/book inside of you and you develop a bond with it, nurture it, love it. You imagine a world where this baby/book is out there, making it's way. You hope it's way will be an easy one, but deep down you suspect it might not be. It doesn't matter. You don't love it any less. If anything, you love it more.

I vividly remember thinking, when I was about six months pregnant with both my kids, that I would miss them when they were born. I would miss that bond, the thing that only the baby and I shared. We had been through so much together (neither pregnancy was easy) and I'd come to rely on feeling it kicking inside me. It let me know that it was hanging in there with me. That it would all be worth it in the end. That I wasn't alone. With my first pregnancy, I expected to feel a sense of loss when the baby came - an emptiness. By the time my second baby came along, I knew better.

There was no hole inside of me. I was so busy getting to know this little person for real, I had no thoughts of loss or emptiness. I just had a bundle of baby goodness in my arms, and a life that was about to get a whole hell of a lot busier and fuller than I could ever have imagined.

Writing a book has many similarities. I got that initial glow, followed by the sickness and sinking feeling (am I ever going to be able to do this story justice?). I also got three quarters of the way through the first edit and realised that I was going to miss these characters when I was done. I began holding on to them tighter, getting less frequent with the teaser excerpts I was sharing, for fear of giving anything away. Now that the release date is so close, I'm reluctant to part with it. I'm not sure I'm ready. I need more time. It's only perfect in my head if I'm the only one who sees it. Once it's out there, in the world, people will be free to rip it apart and I'm not sure I can handle that just yet.

I know I'll get braver. I know, because I've done it once before. I can do this again.

Sometimes, I even look forward to it.