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Our Journey Thus Far

Welcome again to our blog. I [Valerie] thought I would take this opportunity to tell you a little more about us [Sam and myself] and our writerly journey thus far.

The two of us have been friends since junior high–ten years now, as old as that makes me feel. Even that early in our lives, both of us were storytellers. Sam’s method of choice was a verbal one. He and many of our mutual friends liked to tell stories aloud, often in a role-playing situation. I doubt there are many of you who have experienced role-playing like this. Sam is a master storyteller, with a depth and creativity that enraptured all of us throughout our high school years. Some of the stories we lived still affect me as a writer today.

A few years went by. Sam went to Malaysia, then got married and started his family. I went to college and began my career. But during that time, we began to work together on projects…projects that we got ridiculously excited about. It was during this time that other people noticed how well we seemed to work together. “Synergy” was a word used more than once.

Last summer (2009) we began work on the story which became Traitor’s Gate. Certain elements come from projects we had started previously, but neglected. But the story that readers would recognize today began last summer. Our writing of it was off and on for a few months. The bulk of the text was composed during November (I cheated and used it for NaNoWriMo…though I had already started the project, I wrote 70,000 words during that month). In December, I was feeling burned out, big time. Sam suggested that we take a break. I didn’t much care for the idea. You have to understand, I am like a train when I write…go go go go go until I’m done. It means that I can crank out a manuscript pretty fast (three weeks, once) though often I end up with a lot of plot holes and elements that are not very well thought out. But never in my life have I stopped writing something, and ever come back to it. Always before, if I walked away from a project, it was for good. So understandably, Sam’s insistence that we take a break made me anxious.

However, after about three months, we returned to the manuscript, and finished it in a matter of weeks. From there, we performed a full revision of our own before handing the novel over to our first round of “beta readers” to review. We used their suggestions to revise again before handing it over to the next round of readers. By the time we got back our responses, we’d reached the end of this past summer.

During this time, we started sending out queries to literary agents, in addition to our family and friends. We got a call from our editor, Todd, who had a proposition for us. He loved Traitor’s Gate, thought it was a great piece of fiction and worth pursuing. His company, Inquisitive Design, is small, just getting started. But he felt that with a quality product like ours, his model was perfect. After some consideration, Sam and I decided that it was a good fit, and we signed with Inquisitive Design.

Since then, we have complete a full revision, far more in depth than any previous, based on the suggestions of our editor and other readers. This has been arduous, though well worth the effort. For me personally, I had never realized how much WORK goes into revisions and polishing a manuscript. Just this week we have resubmitted Traitor’s Gate to our editor, and I’m looking forward with only minor trepidation to what he has to say. We are still looking at a December release, and though that feels optimistic to me, I am looking forward to our continuing journey.

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