Touched base with my agent yesterday, and she is swamped with time-sensitive matters and is setting aside time next week to read Baby Grand. In other words, no news yet. But while we’re waiting, I’d like to introduce you to C.J. Darlington, whose first novel, published in January 2010 by Tyndale House, was 15 years in the making! When I first heard that number, I thought, “Wow, that’s a long time!” But then I realized that if I thought back to when I first had the idea for Baby Grand, it would probably be somewhere in the mid-90s.Where does the time go?!
Thanks, C.J., for sharing your thoughts about writing with us!
Novel: Thicker than Blood
Date Published: January, 2010
Publisher: Tyndale House
Most challenging part of the writing process: Persistance. I wrote this novel over a period of years, and I had to learn to be patient with myself and with the market. Even when I received rejections I had to remember perseverance and dedication would eventually pay off. And they did!
Favorite aspect of the writing process for this book: Finally seeing my book in print was a huge thrill. It makes all the hard work worth it. But as far as the actual nitty gritty process, I love light bulb moments where a plot piece falls into place perfectly or an unexpected character pops up who I grow to love. These moments usually only happen once or twice during the writing process, but when they do they’re a huge blessing.
Favorite chapter of the book and why: Chapter 11. For some reason I especially enjoyed writing the first scene of this chapter featuring the villain. This chapter is the gateway to what is essentially Act II of the book, so everything begins to come to a head for my characters. Fun stuff.
Favorite character and why: Christy Williams is my main character throughout the story, so I would be amiss not to call her my favorite. I spent the most time in her head! But a close second is a minor character named Beth who’s the local veterinarian. She adds a little bit of humor to the story, I think.
Biggest misconception of novel writing: That once you write the book it’ll only be a matter of a few months, a year at the most, before a publisher offers you a contract. I’ve seen writers become so discouraged after rejection, and I try to encourage them with my experience—from idea to publication Thicker than Blood was fifteen years in the making. I’m glad it took that long because during that time I grew so much as a writer.
Do you plan to do this again? Why or why not? And what would you do differently? Most definitely I plan to keep writing. Here’s the thing—I can’t not write. Sometimes I wish I could, but really, those feelings only come on the hard days. I am happiest when words are flowing from my fingers. But the biggest piece of advice I would offer new writers is not to stop at book one. While you’re seeking out publishers and editors, start writing your next book. That’s been a huge blessing to me. When I received a publishing contract for my first novel Thicker than Blood I was finishing up writing my second book Bound by Guilt. I didn’t have to stress so much about what I was going to write next in the midst of the demands of putting out a first book. I’d already written one. What would I do differently? I wish I would’ve written a third book before I got published too!