Annalyse Knight has kindly agreed to discuss her experience writing Ready to Love Again.
"First, let me say that I never intended to publish this story. I started writing it as an escape from the drama happening in my personal life almost six years ago. Fortunately, I had three online friends who I bounced ideas off every day. We’d meet on Yahoo Messenger and chat about the next chapters each of us had to write. We’d visualize the next scene and play it out from start to finish. One person would make a suggestion and then the conversation would take off. Sometimes in silly, off-topic directions, but we’d always pull it together and come up with some fantastic ideas for each other.
I posted the story online as I wrote and had an amazing response from my readers. The story related to so many people and in ways I never intended. To me, the story was my way of reconnecting with a place I loved and sharing what I loved with my readers. However, to my readers, the struggles of family life, single parenthood, divorce, raising children, blending families, and losing a loved one all seemed to hit each reader personally. They shared their stories of love, loss, child rearing and frustrations, which I held close to my heart as I wrote the story.
Not all of my e-mails were filled with rainbows and kittens. I had many readers challenge the way some of my characters handled their situations. They made me think about what I wrote and so I constantly asked myself how I would react in a situation and if my characters would react the same way under their circumstances. I had one amazing reader, Sandra, who would psychoanalyze my characters to a point that made me think I really didn’t know them very well. She seemed to understand them perfectly and opened my eyes to where the story could go. In most instances, my readers’ comments gave me more conviction in my characters and their behaviors. With all of their suggestions and requests, the first draft of the story ended up being 268K words, which is over twice the regular word count for a romance novel. They definitely influenced the story.
I eventually got to the point where I considered publishing the story. I rewrote it from the beginning because it was originally in first person, cut over fifty percent of unnecessary fluff and smut, and then submitted it to A Writers’ Collective to see if they’d accept it for a workshop. They did, thankfully. The workshop process was grueling even though I’d had plenty of critique writing online. There are not many things more personal than having a group of strangers rip your manuscript to shreds and then help you put it back together again. The group of ladies I had was amazing and showed me what it really takes to prepare a novel for publishing. In the end, the story that emerged was even better than the original version.
I can say that I feel truly blessed with the amazing friends I have gained along the way. My readers and workshop gals were awesome. I don’t think they realize how much they all inspired me."
Thank you, Annalyse!
About the Author Annalyse Knight is a recovering craft addict. She spent many years jumping from one hobby to another until she discovered that writing satisfied all her creative cravings. A stay-at-home mom, Annalyse raised her three children on California’s Monterey Peninsula. Although she and her family later moved to the Sacramento area, the beach, the quiet community, and the beauty of the California coast continue to inspire her writing. She spent several years writing with an online community, and she loved the direct interaction with her readers. Her online participation eventually led to her volunteer at The Writers’ Collective, an online writing workshop group founded to create a supportive community for writers. With her children almost grown, Annalyse decided to take her hobby to the next level and become a published author. Ready to Love Again is her first novel with The Writer’s Coffee Shop.