Fun Facts - Behind the Scenes of The Shadow Things

everybody at a book-signing

When it comes to the topic of writing I'm a pretty serious person.  A few of my characters have taught me how to stick my tongue in my cheek and I'm working at it - it's a slow process, so bear with me!  So do you want to know some of the odd-ball, curious things that made up the backdrop of The Shadow Things?  You've come to the right place.

1.  I rewrote much of the novel.  I'm told this happened.  I'm told that my sister-in-law advised me to do this (meaning, I really needed to do it) and I'm told that I did it.  She continues to apologize for putting me through this alleged agony, but the fact of the matter is I don't remember a lick of it.  I have absolutely no memory of grinding up the paving stones of my story and laying it out afresh.  You would think I would recall such an experience vividly, but nope, no such memory exists.  I guess I've forgiven her for it.  Forgive and forget, and all that...

2.  I had a wretched cold the day Abigail and I went to sign the contracts with the publishers.  Seriously, the mother of all colds.  I really did not want to be sneezing and blowing my nose all through the interview so I held it at bay through sheer will-power.  I kid you not.  I sat on the dashed thing as you might sit on the lid of a suitcase that is about to burst open, and I did not let my hold go until the moment we stepped back out of the publisher's office.  And then the cold hit me full in the face.  I hope they appreciated my efforts.  Bleh.

3.  Book-signings are strange, curious, inhuman things that everyone (including myself) holds at arm's length and looks at askance.  I learned that when people say, "Interesting," it really means, "I have no idea what you are on about and I would really like to get away from you but I don't want to hurt your feelings."  Yeah, I'm on to you...

4.  We got to interface with the cover artist and give our general ideas for our book covers so that, in the end, we were both really happy with what we got.  I don't know if a lot of authors get that privilege, so we were really grateful.  Thanks, David!

5.  The Shadow Things is an unusually small book compared to what I normally write, but I was sanguine with that since publishers are often justified in balking when an enormous debut manuscript is dropped on their desks.  On that side of things I don't mind how small it is; however, almost without fail I am disappointed by how quickly readers tear through the novel.  They love it.  They usually say something flattering like, "I just couldn't put it down after a certain point!"  But to myself I think (with my bottom lip stuck out petulantly), "Why couldn't it be a bigger book so it would take more time and you could enjoy it longer...?"  I'm so mature.

6.  It was The Shadow Things that taught me how to give my signature decently on demand.

7.  I am now at that awkward, in-between stage in which people ask me, "So, are you writing any more books...?"  But it's okay.  I can handle it.  Give it a little more time and I'll be able to drop two metric tons of novel on them and they'll know for certain that I mean business.

8.  The map at the beginning?  I make that myself.  Pretty straight-forward, I would have liked for it to have been more detailed, but as the book does not dwell on the geographical details I was not allowed to indulge this whim.  Ho hum.  (Coincidentally, Abigail made the map for The Soldier's Cross, I believe.  I don't know if she ever mentioned that...)

9.  There really was a stone archer's cuff dug up at Stonehenge.  True facts.

13 ripostes:

  1. *grins* I enjoyed this post muchly. Expect blackmail any day now. ;)

  2. I knew I should have used my pseudonym Charlemagne Black...

  3. I'm dense this morning, as I have no idea how I'd use any of this as blackmail, but it was a very enjoyable post. :) (And that's the "Minnesota nice" definition of "interesting," by the way.)

  4. On the length issue. That was my chief complaint. Unlike other readers I could, and did, "put it down". But that was only because it was going by too fast and I wished to delay the inevitable. But it makes sense, as you say, to have kept it short for your début. And since we have more and longer works to look forward to, we won't complain. And you're not alone in regretting the shortness of your book: as Tolkien said in the forward to the second edition of Rings: "The most critical reader of all, myself, now finds many defects,...[but] he will pass over these in silence, except one that has been noted by others: the book is too short."

  5. Behind the scenes is always good :)
    I'll admit that I did pause and wonder at the stone archer's cuff when I first came across it: A stone cuff? How does that work? I still wonder (next stop Google!) but now that I see you have referenced an actual artifact, my mind will be far more accepting of this contingency with which it is so unfamiliar.

  6. Interesting. (Note, when I say that, I usually mean that I AM very interested, I just don't know how to put my interestedness into words ... other than the word "Interesting." And picture me saying it like Little Bear, because that's how I do it.)

    Anyways, I was intrigued by every single one of those facts, laughed at some, sympathized with others, and I'll let you guess which ones I did which.

  7. I guess I was one of those disappointing readers. The cuff was real? That is so cool! Kendra:I never say interesting the normal way... in my head at least. Out loud I have conformed to convention but inside I still sound like little bear. My sister Amy still says caterpillar like Little Bear.

  8. Smashing! I just love this.
    I was one of those people who whizzed through the book. Oops. But be reassured: I whizz through just about anything, and it really wasn't new for me to read a book in three days. :)
    I never can write my signature fast enough. Perhaps I should publish my book soon, it may be a help...
    I actually made a map for Psithurism (you know that book I'm writing that used to be called Winter Wings? Yep, I changed the title. I'm known for my title-changings. ;P But I think I'm gonna stick with this one: it means wind through trees. Which, you know, is amazing.) that I keep in my handy-dandy writing notebook whenever I need help describing things in a map-sized sense. ;D

    I shan't make this comment a novella, I promise. ;D

  9. I read a blog today and saw your name and saw you had a book out and my jaw dropped. I've wanted to read something by you since finding your blog and now I can - when I have the money of course. And I am dancing all about with glee.

    Sitting on a cold should be rewarded.

    And now I am wondering how I didn't catch the book last time I looked about your blog. Silly me.

  10. Oh, this is terribly interesting, Jenny! Shamefully I don't comment enough on here, and when I do I feel like a random-little-passerby-that-knows-more-about-this-blog-than-a-random-passerby-would. ;) Anyhow, just thought I'd pop on to say hello (and to let you know I added you as a buddy on NaNoWriMo... that random NaNoer named EmilyRuth? Yeah, that's me. ;)

  11. Jack - Yes, I've got a book out! And as I know a lot of you have the money-woes, you should know that THE SHADOW THINGS is on sale here through my blog for $5.95. Christmas present? Christmas present to yourself? Oh yeah. Plus, if you buy it directly from me, I can autograph it for you.

    Emily - Stay tuned, girl! One of your questions is going to feature in a post here on The Penslayer; it's scheduled for the 16th.

  12. So neat! I have been away on a campaign and I come home quite astonished to find the world has gone on without me and people are still pouring out books when I've done nothing but make phone-calls and pass out literature and beg people to vote for the last week.... O.o
    I loved the neat trivia about the archer's cuff!