I published my first book, Become, in 2011. I loved it, believed in it, but I was also ashamed of it.
There are some swears in there. Some sexual situations. Drug use, alcoholism, threat of suicide. The devil and demons play big roles and God is nowhere to be seen.
What would people think of it? What would people think of ME?
One time I was at a book fair and when someone asked me about my book, I actually said, “Well, it’s not for everyone.” Of course it’s not for everyone—no book is! But here I was, apologizing for my book to a potential reader. Of course she didn’t buy it. I don’t think anyone bought it that day. Why would they?
That was almost six years ago and believe it or not, I only just allowed myself to release that shame, freeing me to truly love the story I told in the Desolation series.
So here’s what happened. I went to an excellent local writers’ conference where I took a class from the Queen of Dark herself, Mercedes M. Yardley. She writes dark stories. She has embraced the kind of stories she needs to tell and she owns them. She feels no shame. As I listened to her and understood her message, I felt the burden of my own shame lift and lift and just … fly away, like dust in the wind.
I know why I wrote Become. I wrote it for those who have fallen so low they don’t recognize themselves anymore. For them—there’s hope. It’s never too late to choose who you will become. I wrote it for those who feel trapped by a life designed by someone else. For them—no one controls you. No one decides your destiny but you. I wrote it for all of us who have ever been ashamed of who we were and thought no one could accept us. For us—there’s love and forgiveness. It’s never too late.
It’s long past time for me to embrace the theme of the Desolation series. To own the dark in me, as we all have it. To own the light and the hope that I put into all my stories, no matter how dark they might seem at times.