Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I'm celebrating yesterday

I'm the kind of person who has a million things going on at once and don't always take time to appreciate life as it happens. I'm trying to get better at it, but it's a work in progress. Going along the line of that thought, I will now celebrate yesterday.

What was yesterday? An ordinary Tuesday in May? Yes, but it was also special, I was just too busy to enjoy it at the time.

Yesterday I submitted the final author-approved read-throuh of Flashback to my publisher. After sending the email I scurried out with the dogs, attempted to put on some mascara without getting it all in my eyes, raced to work, and forgot about it. I should have sat down, put my feet up, and patted myself on the back for a job well done.

I enjoy writing all my books and every book is a process, but Flashback is different. I've been working on it for four years and it's barely 50,000 words. I haven't written on it constantly for four years, of course, but it has had periods of resting in the computer and periods of working in a frenzy.

The book is about a war veteran who comes home and has enormous problems with re-adjusting to society. He loses everything and considers taking his own life just to get it over with. Luckily, since it's fiction, he meets a girl, enters a relationship against better judgement, and manages to turn his life around. And, since it's fiction, she of course gets kidnapped and he has to rescue her while facing both external danger and himself.

The thing is, when I wrote the first draft I thought I made it all up. Then, my publisher said, "I didn't expect you to write a book about PTSD."

"I wrote about the what-and-the-what now?"

Sinking feeling: if this is a real thing I should probably put some more effort into researching and learning about it. Before this point I had spent time researching other aspects of the book, but the idea that my poor hero's affliction could be something affecting scores of people in real life hadn't crossed my mind.

This might sound incredibly naive, but please remember that I'm Swedish. We haven't been in a war in modern times, we have low crime rates, virtually no natural disasters, and not much happens. PTSD can stem from any traumatic experience, not just a war, but as a nation I believe we've been fortunate enough to suffer through less traumatic experiences than the US.

Anyway, I researched. It's still a work of fiction, but I wanted to at least sprinkle some truth in there. My editor made a fantastic job helping me put the finishing touches on it, and when I read through the manuscript, making some final minor tweaks, I caught myself thinking, "Wow, this is a real book." I scolded myself; all my books are real books, but there's something special about Flashback. It's different. It might only mean something to me, and that's okay, but today I will celebrate sending in the final read-through.

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is a promise, but doesn't exist. Today is all we have. I'm going to make an extra effort to enjoy today!

2 comments:

  1. I suffer from PTSD and I thank you for acknowledging this condition in this article with such delicateness. You have written many amazing books but this may be the one that really sets you apart from the rest of us! Well done!

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