Friday, January 13, 2012
The Road to Tangerine
First of all, I would like to thank Alisha for the opportunity to do a guest post.
My co-author and I began writing our first novel, Tangerine, in 2009. Here it is almost three years later and we have just published it. In the interim, we published three volumes of short stories and another novel, Betrayed. Although Tangerine was the first book we wrote together, Betrayed was the first one we published together.
We started our collaboration with the same starry eyes most authors have, and spent months (almost a year) seeking a traditional publishing contract for Tangerine. We were, for the most part, regularly rejected or ignored. However, one helpful publisher made some suggestions he felt would improve the story. At the time, we set his recommendations aside for later review and put Tangerine on hold.
It was decided that our short story collections would serve several important functions for us. They would be a way of introducing readers to our writing. We priced them low and in each one added a bonus "silly" tale or short piece of fiction that was just for fun. We also wanted to assess the indie market for our co-written works by using our short story collections as test subjects. And they have served their exact purposes. Besides that, we simply love writing short stories, so each of the three books represented a labor we enjoyed. These books also gave us the freedom to explore various genres as each collection includes a variety. And, we got our feet wet as indie co-authors. But our main focus remained the completion of a novel.
Betrayed was written and re-written, honed and revised countless times, mainly due to its controversial subject matter. It had to be harsh enough to illustrate the broken condition of our female main character at the time she stumbles across her potential rescuer, but not so harsh that the average reader would have to put it down without finishing the story. While we wrestled Betrayed into the form we wanted, Tangerine simmered on the back burner.
Since publishing Betrayed, we are very pleased with the result of our decision to go indie with our novels. Sales have been good and reviews mostly favorable. It was time to pull our old neglected friend, Tangerine, out of the shadows and put it on the table for some scrutiny. We carefully considered the suggestions made by the helpful publisher so many months before, incorporated some of his recommendations, and revised the entire book. After much editing, Tangerine is finally out there for readers.
Tangerine is a very different story than Betrayed. Tangerine is not hard science fiction, although it might be considered sci-fi by some. To us, it is simply a story set in the future. Most of the situations our main character faces are the same as people face today: completing her education, the untimely death of her parents, the decision to take a new job, forming a romantic relationship. Of course, most of us will not spend a decade and a half getting an advanced degree in the sciences or train to pilot a spacecraft. Nor will most of us take a job off planet Earth, struggle with the complexities of a time-travel device, or end up in love with a man who was hired to track our moves. So there are definitely some sci-fi elements in the book. Tangerine is a character-driven story set in a future time when long distance space travel is commonplace and aliens are a natural part of daily life.
Finally, several years and books later, our first novel has been pushed from the nest to perch alongside other books on the shelves. We hope you will enjoy it!
Author bio: In addition to writing with co-author PJ Hawkinson under the name Wodke Hawkinson, Karen has written numerous articles and published a book for young readers entitled James Willis Makes a Million. She and her co-author maintain a website for their works, another website for other indie authors, and a blog.
Tangerine on Amazon
Wodke Hawkinson's Amazon Author Page