Today’s guest on the blog is MC D’Alton, author of Iron Heart, a steampunk novel written in collaboration with Melanie Page. MC is here today to tell us what it’s like to love what she writes. Welcome to Book Love, MC!
As a writer most of us are asked and answer the same questions all of the time. What inspires you? What do you do when you have writers block? And so on, and so on… But the question I’d like to answer today is, what is it like to write a story you believe in so much it haunts your every waking moment? For those of you who will read this blog and who are not writers, I sincerely hope I can convey the intense emotions and sacrifice that goes into any serious storytelling, whether it be a short story, or an epic novel which treks across space and time.
To me, the first hints of a story come in a prophetic dream. What I mean about this is not that I am some prophet who sees the future, (or I might have already won the lotto 😉 ) only that it is so vivid I am almost convinced it happened in real life. Most every story I have ever written has come to me in a dream. For instance, Epona, my contemporary romance novel with paranormal elements and a dollop of suspense, came to me in a dark dream. In an old library in Scotland stood a man with long dark hair… and then I stood in a field of Heather beside a blue roan mare. I was the heroine, but I was also an onlooker as the heroine told me her story… creepy? Nah, its bloody awesome!
It’s also a bloody wonder I’ve not given my husband a heart attack, because I usually wake up in the darkest hours of the night and run to the study to scribble the dream down on paper. (No, I no longer keep a pad beside my bed, not enough space beside my TBR pile.) For me this burst of inspiration compares to the moment I found out I was pregnant. For the next few months I walk around hiding the fact I have an entire universe coming to life in side my head. Characters will tell me things at the most inopportune times; like the middle of a shower, or while I’m driving, or even in the midst of a conversation. Hours are spent at my desk with fingers that don’t type as fast as my brain would like them to. Life takes on a rhythm all its own as I drag my way through the motions of everyday, with one foot in this reality and the other in my story world. Once, when I had to pick the boys up from school I was so deep in thought I drove to the centre of town instead – now that’s a little bit freaky.
But this, my dear readers, is how we writers live, or at least this writer does. I toil for months over chapters, words, and phrases. I ask my characters a thousand and one questions, allow others to peek at my soul’s creation and cringe when criticized (when its delivered in a harsh way). I curl up in a ball when the hundredth ‘Thank you, but no thank you’ letter arrives in my inbox from a publisher, and question my belief in my writing, and storytelling. Rejection is a bitter and painful pill to swallow because you know what you have breathed life in to is more special, more beautiful, and wonderous than anything else you’ve created (besides one’s real life children of course).
I cried when my heroine cried. I grieved for her loss and fought beside her when she faced her darkest enemy. I sighed when my hero finally found his way into her heart and fell hopelessly in love with the broken beauty. Honey coated my lips for days after they shared their first kiss. I felt the chill of the highlands and smelled the damp earth beneath their feet. When I write a story for you, I remove the armor from my heart, so it may open, and I may gift to you, my dearest reader, a story which will remain with you always and forever.
This is what it is to love what you write.