Due to my own lack of attention to the scheduling on my blog, I realized I did not have a post scheduled for today. So, I as I had very little time last night when I came home from work, I decided that it was about time CARAMEL’S CORNER reviewed one of my very own books! (I know – how outrageous!!!) Don’t worry, there are lots of reviews from books written by other WordPress bloggers in the pipeline, but I need to finish them off, and work is depleting my mental energy. So today I will tell you a little about my very first novel, “WE HIDE WHAT WE HATE ABOUT OURSELVES”.
I still can’t believe I wrote a book! As many of you knew, I started with one flash fiction post in response to a writing prompt – but it grew. It grew and grew and grew! I found myself putting in a lot of personal thoughts, feelings and experiences. But that was not enough. I started to include conversations I had shared with friends, and some of their experiences and emotional reactions went into the story of my fictional character Annabelle Riley. So although, Annabelle and the other characters are fictional, they are very much based on very real, very personal accounts of my own and of some of my dearest friends.
I guess that is one of the reasons why no matter what I write in the future, I am always going to be deeply fond of how Annabelle’s story is revealed in “WE HIDE WHAT WE HATE ABOUT OURSELVES” (which turned out to be Part One of a three part series). Everytime I scrutinise my manuscript, trying to spot typos and errors in need of correction, Annabelle’s story still pulls enormously on my heart strings.
Anyway….I have not told you much about the story yet! Well, some of you know all about Annabelle…but for those of you who don’t – he is a basic outline of what to expect from “WE HIDE WHAT WE HATE ABOUT OURSELVES”
What started out as a lighthearted romance, ended up developing into a coming of age story of a character who for the first time in her life is really facing up to mental health challenges that she has ignored and tried to hide. We find Annabelle at a sort of crossroads in her life, in the sleepy town of Blackwood in Wisconsin. Chris Ward cannot help but notice the very beautiful and vivacious Annabelle and he tries very hard to impress her. But Annabelle is cautious to allow Chris to befriend her, and gradually we learn more about what has brought her to Blackwood and what she has been hiding from everyone who knows her. This book is much more than a romance, it is the story of a young woman learning about life, learning about forgiveness and real friendships, learning to grow as a person and make decisions regarding her future happiness, learning about trust and about love itself. Annabelle’s story became a true journey of life lessons.
I think that is enough of a teaser for now. Now, I know this is my book, and I am not going to go to town telling you how great it is (even though I am proud of Annabelle’s story), but what I will say is this…most of the feedback I have had from friends, family and others who have read “WE HIDE WHAT WE HATE ABOUT OURSELVES” is that they love the characters. I find it fascinating that of all the characters, it seems that Dean Mathers (you will have to read it if you want to know who Dean is) is the most popular. I had so much fun developing Dean’s character! The really odd thing was, I started writing Annabelle’s story before Jack and I made peace. So when I first mentioned Dean being this person in the past who had hurt Annabelle, I was thinking of Jack. So, when Jack and I got together, suddenly Dean started to become more important to the storyline.
I really really loved thinking of the characters, getting to know their personalities, their habits, their values, their ways of speaking to each other. To me, character development is one of the most satisfying aspects of writing. I drew so much inspiration from friends in developing those characters and put a lot of real life mannerisms into my fictional tale. It’s a very joyful thing to read the story and see these distinct people jump out from the page and interact with each other. I just love Ralph Crabbe and Burt and Pearl Jennings – love them!
I knew that the big debate for some readers would be between Chris Ward and Robin Grainger. I deliberately made sure that both men have their flaws and their lovable points. I loved describing the tension and jealousy between the two men.
Annabelle’s character was sometimes harder to work on. But then I realized why about half way through the story when I was talking to a publisher about Annabelle. The truth is Annabelle is quite lost at times, she is still getting to know herself throughout her story. She lets us in slowly because she is guarded about who she trusts. In the first few chapters it is mainly other characters that explain Annabelle until she starts to find her own voice and slowly reveals more about her life.
She is facing her mental health challenges for the first time, so she is up and down. She has emotional outbursts, she gets stressed and frustrated, she wants fragile at times, but she also is slowly although painfully making some progress and becoming stronger. In fact, Annabelle has a big journey ahead of her as she starts to accept help with her mental health. Book one “WE HIDE WHAT WE HATE ABOUT OURSELVES” is just the start for her.
Annabelle’s story includes some pretty heavy subjects, but I have made every attempt to keep her story overall lighthearted and easy to read, and it is my genuine hope that you will love reading her epic emotional voyage.
You can find out what Caramel has been reading in her very own little reading corner, as she published book reviews of books written by WordPress bloggers each Saturday.
If you have any recommendations, please leave a message in the comments below.