It started with an image:
which I found while tooling around the Internet with family last Christmas (Christmas 2016). I had just published To Have Loved & Lost a month earlier, and had written a couple tentative chapters of Anika takes the long way home up soul mountain, but…
But I knew I wanted to write something really different. And I wanted to write something about the Southeast, one of those novels in which the setting itself felt like a main character.
And the image of that girl… she belonged on a cover. She needed a story.
And so… Reverie actually started with an image, not a story.
So, without really having a fleshed-out story <– Don’t click that link if you don’t want any spoilers, just a rough feeling for a girl, the South, and an eerie, haunted kind of atmosphere, I created a cover:
I called my new novel “Apart” for a long time. And one day, bored with writing Anika, I sat down and wrote the first chapter in a matter of twenty or thirty minutes.
I heard a podcast later — S-Town — and knew I *had* to write this novel.
Then my life fell apart.
I hit a mid-life crisis in 2017 as if I was driving a hundred miles per hour and slammed on the brakes at the precise moment that I hit a patch of black ice. Everything started spinning in nauseating circles — my career, my relationships, my faith.
I wrote a quirky, allegorical novella about my conundrum that no one has much liked except for me (LOL).
By the time the spinning slowed down and the dust cleared, I found myself back home in Georgia, if only for a brief bit of time, with plans to reboot my life and my career in California six months later.
I wanted to write my novel about the South while I was still living in it, so I went to work.
As the story developed, “Apart” morphed into “Reverie,” both the name of a trance or a dream and the name of a small-town in South Carolina that I made up.
I went back to work on covers, which is one of my favorite methods of procrastination.
I toyed with this:
and finally settled on something more like this:
Which I knew was close, but not yet as refined as I wanted it to be.
I almost gave up on the project more than once. At one point, I stopped writing for nearly six straight weeks.
Don’t ask me why.
It’s just a strange thing that authors seem to do. Maybe some people write without bouts of crippling insecurity and writer’s block, but not me. For me it’s just part of the process of finishing a book — I talk myself out of writing. I talk myself into doing ANYTHING except writing. And then I realize I’m being silly, and I write.
And then stop.
And then write again.
I don’t know, it’s just like that.
But I’m happy to say that I finished the book at last! And even better, I have the final version of the cover ready to share with you. Are you ready? Hold on — it’s my favorite cover so far…
Wait for it…