Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 5: Thanks, Stacy A. Nyikos!

2k8: Writing is hard. Publishing is harder. On this last day of Stacy A. Nyikos' launch week, let's find out what she struggled with.

Stacy: The hardest part about writing and publishing DRAGON WISHES was the emotion that went into it. I revealed on Tuesday that the story emerged after a near fatal sledding accident my daughters were in. They healed, but I didn’t. I went through all of the stages of grief – which, on a good day, I thought was just plain wrong. They were still alive. I didn’t want to think about what would have happened if they had died. But think about it I did. It haunted me.

Writing out the emotions was the only way I could work through them. That proved rather difficult since I’d sworn off writing, and I’m not much for journaling. At some point, nearing the edge of my sanity, I forced myself to sit back down and take the overwhelming emotion of loss and turn it on its head. What would it be like for a child to go through this? I’m an adult. I’m supposed to be trained by life itself to deal with loss. But a child? What would a child do?

That idea loosened my silent pen. I would turn my loss and fear around. I’d write a story, one that could be a beacon to kids going through the overwhelming craziness of loss that I’d gone through.

2k8: So, then did the story come quickly or slowly?

Stacy: The ideas for the story came pretty quickly, and the writing part went relatively smoothly. It was the revising that was a battle. My critique group pushed me to do better, like all critique groups do. I am indebted to them. Alone, I don’t think I could have done it because they forced me to take on the most difficult scenes – when Alex has to let somebody love her again or drown in her own feelings of loss – and write them until they ached with my main character’s struggles. It made the story so much stronger, but I was a real bear to live with when I was revising certain scenes. I could have thought of a million places I would have rather have been – childbirth, a lecture on international political economics, watching paint dry – than in those emotions, trying to shape them into something positive.

At times, I wondered if I hadn’t actually jumped off the deep end. Who in their right mind tries to shape the emotions of loss? Aren’t we just supposed to figure out how to survive them?

2k8: Now DRAGON WISHES is a real book sitting on the shelf. The writing and revising are behind you. How do you feel?

Stacy: In the end, the story became one I’m really proud of. My characters emotions are real. They are at times raw. The rawness gives them an unmistakable authenticity that I very much hope helps kids dealing with loss find their own path through the darkness.

2k8: Stacy, it's been a great launch week. We've all enjoyed getting to know you better. Thank you so much for sharing. We wish you the very very best in your writing career. We know it's going to soar.

To read an excerpt of DRAGON WISHES, click here.

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