I wanted to give a bit of a background on the story behind The Blood Moon for those who haven’t heard it yet. Consider this like a “Behind the Music” special, minus the glitz and glam of the Hollywood spotlight. Instead, add in acne and insecurity and you have “Behind the Book: The Blood Moon.”
Let’s rewind to 2006. I was in tenth grade, obsessed with the TV show Charmed and any other supernaturally-based TV show. I had decided to give up my long-winded epic (and first dive into writing), Airdaps and I wanted to dive into something meatier, newer, and something that excited me. Basically, I knew Airdaps had severe problems and I wanted to better myself and my writing. I wanted a new project.
So, on my 15th birthday, I started a manuscript called The Magical Inheritance. I quickly lost interest in it, mostly because I couldn’t identify with the main character, a girl, and I had no idea where the story was going. I knew how it ended, but I didn’t know how to get to the ending.
Instead of abandoning the project, I decided to set it aside. I tried to be one of those writers that had multiple projects going at once (I found out years later that I’m not that type of writer). I began a project, The Lewis Brothers that would eventually become The Blood Moon. This manuscript drew me in. I loved the characters and the situations I threw them in.
Still, at 15, I didn’t know how to get myself out of the ruts that eventually come when in you’re in the midst of writing a novel. I decided to combine The Magical Inheritance with The Lewis Brothers and stuck in Holly and her crew of characters after the events of The Magical Inheritance happened. I figured I could jump back and write Inheritance as a prequel later.
Combining the stories pushed me forward to finish it. I wrapped up The Lewis Brothers and got right to work on a sequel. Didn’t even read through the original manuscript again. I wrote two more books, making plans for a fourth book.
Before I could start the fourth, I mentioned to my English teacher that I liked to write and that I had completed several books. She wanted to read it. After I realized the horror of Airdaps, I was nervous, but she seemed really excited, so I let her read it. When I got it back a few months later, she had marked up every single page. Strangely, that encouraged me. Especially the letter she wrote me on the last few pages telling me that it was the best piece of student fiction she had read and detailed the places I needed to fix.
I made the edits, had her read it again for more edits, and we discussed publishing options. She suggested self-publishing, but this was just before (literally months before) the Kindle came out. At the time, self-publishing was buying a bunch of copies and selling them out of the trunk of your car. I didn’t have a car. I certainly didn’t have the thousands it cost to print up books that I would never sell.
I submitted so many queries, first directly to publishers, then to agents (once I realized that publishers don’t usually take unsolicited queries). I got a lot of rejections, but I expected this. I set the manuscript aside (then retitled The Lewis Brothers and the Demonic Couple in the same vein as Harry Potter) and worked on other projects. Nothing really took flight the way Brothers did.
In college I decided to pick up Brothers again and realized that I had grown as a writer and Brothers needed a lot of work. That discouraged me until I was in grad school and saw how much self-publishing had evolved since the last time I considered it. As soon as I was finished with my first year and back home, I dug the old manuscript out of the stacks and set to work on edits, tearing it apart.
I made characters more believable, less flat. I added in more convincing motivations. I cut out all the filler that wasn’t necessary. I improved the dialogue and took out a lot of the swearing.
I combined characters, changed their names, retitled the book (The Blood Moon, as you all know it now), and added in a whole new plot. I spent a good year working on edits.
Still, I wanted to preserve what my teenaged self had portrayed in the manuscript. The characters are teenagers, so who better to understand them than my teenaged self? Now, as an adult, I can look at the manuscript with a more objective eye, but at the time I was writing the story I wanted to read. I wanted to keep that part. That being said, everyone’s first draft is horrible. And a teenager who had just finished his first novel-length story? That was going to need some work.
I consulted a professional editor, who improved the book tremendously and pointed out the flaws that still existed and needed to be addressed. I had a cover designed and set a release date. Almost nine years to the date that I started this world, the first book would be released. I was ready.
I have plans for a series. The second book, a prequel, is due out in February 2016. The Blood Moon is available for preorder now, due out August 2015. Reserve your copy!