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Writer Wednesday: Favourites

Like parents, the one questions authors never want to answer is “which one is your favourite?” Well, like a parents, each book is like my baby. It’s something I created, I sent out into the world, hoping that people would treat it well and that it would grow.
There have been books that were a joy to write, books that were difficult, some that were utterly exhausting to write.
The Trade, for example, was a book that didn’t start out the way it ended up. The story was planned as a short, so was only about 5 chapters long before I realised that I wanted to make it into a novel. Even then, the story I wrote and submitted was a little more “direct” and to the point than the final version. During my first-of-ten-final-edits before sending it to the editor, it grew a chapter at a time; adding one extra chapter to elaborate, one extra chapter to expand on the friendship before it became a relationship, and another chapter that helped make the relationship a little more natural. In the end, I think I added a good 30-40k words to the novel, before sending it to the editor.
This is something that happens a lot. Decadent book 1, Decadent, ended up nothing like the original story that I submitted. When I ran it through a group of beta readers, once I knew it was going to be published, I had feedback that the relationship was too insta-love, and after reading it, I realised that was true. So I reworked the plot, to make the relationship much more gradual and offer growth and build the chemistry between the MC’s. It became better for it.
Decadent was also meant to be a solo novel, until I did my final edits and realised that I wanted to give Konnor his own story – originally planned to be a short. That became a full novel, then my beta reader (the same as above) suggested that Tam deserved his own story. I wrote that and created Giovanni, who also needed his own story, and the series grew from that simple editing choice.
For the reasons above, The Trade and Decadent have always been in my list of “most rewarding” to write. I’d say that A Royal Craving was my most terrifying, because I hadn’t written anything that required complete new world-building. Around that time, I’d written Cacodemon, which had been an idea I’d been batting around for a few years and which took place in the human world, so adding in the angels/demon elements was simple.
To date, my most challenging story was the one I least expected: The Bright Side Brigade. It originally began as a lot of little short story plots, but I put them all together to make an anthology of YA stories. For me, the hardest part was writing Cinder, Smoke and Ash, the final short of the anthology, which involves a young teenager attempting suicide due to bullying. It was an unexpected story, one that I’d never really planned to write, but one of the MC’s came from a previous story and, like Tam and Giovanni, I knew I wanted him to have his own story. I just never thought it would be so heartbreaking.
Perhaps, for that reason, The Bright Side Brigade – my first solo YA novel – has a special place in my heart. But to say it was my favourite would be to do a disservice to all the books that came before, and will come after, which have helped me grow as an author and evolve my craft.

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