Friday, April 12, 2013
I am sitting here on my back deck, under gray Pacific Northwest skies, trying to get everything ready for my upcoming book tour and the release of FLY AWAY on April 23rd, and I have to say, man the job of writing has become so much bigger in these wired-in, dialed-up, tuned-in social media days. I remember when all I had to do was write a book and pretty much walk away. :) Now, it seems that there's always more to do. I need a Kristin Hannah clone to do all the promotional duties that I am no good at. All of this t is my way of saying I'm sorry I've been gone for a while, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate you waiting for me. As a little treat, here's a copy of a scrapbook I made and narrated that tells you a little bit about the new book--and the book that started it all, Firefly Lane. What do you think? Are the places what you imagined?
But I always knew there was more to the story. It’s the first and only time I’ve ever felt that way after finishing a novel. Usually, when I come to the final edit, I am ready to let the characters go into their happy endings world. Firefly Lane was different. Tully and Cloud, in particular, haunted my thoughts, tugged at me. I couldn’t quite let them go, even when I went on to write other novels.
One day, I just knew it was time to go back to Firefly Lane and check in. You’d think it would be easy to step back into a world you’d created, but it was surprisingly difficult to find my way back to this story and these characters. I should have seen the troubles coming. We all know how tough it can be to come home after years away, and that’s what I found when I began Fly Away. There were too many stories to tell, too many ways for the characters’ lives to go. It really threw me off my game. I tried draft after draft, story after story. I wrote so many versions of Tully and Cloud and Marah and Johnny that my head couldn’t hold them all. I felt lost in the forest of too many choices. Every road I chose ended up leading me in the wrong direction. And then I realized what was missing: Kate. I simply couldn’t write about these characters without Kate. In her life, she had been the glue that held them all together; without her, there was no way I could revisit her world. Of course, that presented a bit of a problem, since she died in Firefly Lane.
Fortunately, I am a spiritual person and I believe in much more than what I can see. So, once I realized what was wrong, I knew how to fix it. Even if it was a little…unorthodox, even if it asked my readers to accompany me on an extraordinary journey. In that moment, Fly Away took shape in my mind. It became a novel about what happens when the one person who matters to you—the person who holds a whole family together—is lost. The funny thing is that I should have known it all along. After all, I wrote Firefly Lane as a tribute to my mom, who died of breast cancer when I was young. In Kate, I found a way to remember my mom. So, of course, I should have known that the sequel was about how you go on when the one you love is lost. When I found that theme, and the structure that accompanied it, I was able to do what I really wanted to do: write an emotionally powerful novel about familiar characters that stands on its own as opposed to a pure sequel. I don’t think you have to read Firefly Lane first, but if you do, I think Fly Away is that much richer and more compelling.
To be honest, the biggest challenge in Fly Away came because of you, my readers. I have been blown away by your support of Kate and Tully and the world I created on Firefly Lane. I thought of you all the time while writing this book. It was so important to me that I not disappoint you--and I also needed to write a novel that would completely stand on it's own. I look forward to your comments about the book. It's always fun to hear what you think. That's the best thing about all this social media. It's great to get know my readers. We always have so much in common.
Here is a link to the Fly Away tab on my Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/AuthorKristinHannah/app_465047440203515
You can find my tour information there. I hope to see some of you next month. Until then, please come onto my facebook page and keep in touch! I try to answer as many of the comments as I possibly can.
And have a great summer!