I'd like to welcome fellow Crescent Moon Press author Christine Ashworth to Changing Your Universe.
We're all the sum total of our life experiences, but there are moments when someone or something affects us, possibly even influences the direction our lives will take. Here is one of those stories.
Changing My Universe
I am no stranger to change. In my 30+ years of working for someone else, I have been laid off 3 times, quit twice, resigned once and fired once. All of these caused me to change, to shift and go with a new flow. One of the times I was laid off, I actually decided to stay home and write.
But the biggest change in my life happened when my mother died at the age of 77. While it was sad that she was gone, she’d lived with MS for 50 years; at the end she couldn’t walk, lift herself, roll over in bed, or hear very well; it was an infection that entered her bloodstream that killed her, only indirectly related to the MS.
Losing her, however much expected in the back of my mind, still came as a shock. I had been writing for six years, and hadn’t sold anything. And if I were honest, I hadn’t really been writing, though I’d completed seven novels. I hadn’t fully embraced it as a job. Once I realized my mom would never hold my book in her hands, the knowledge galvanized me.
My mom wouldn’t be able to hold my book, but my father was still with me. HE could hold my book, if I worked my butt off to get published. I could do it for him. You see, my father is a writer, a quite successful one in that he’s had over 300 novels published in the course of 40-plus years, from a wide variety of publishers (and many that no longer exist). Having not one, but two children of his published “legitimately” would please him to no end.
In my house, self-publishing was equated with vanity publishing for a very, very long time, so that was not the way for me to go. (Not so anymore; my father has self-published 3 books by this point. At 83, he’s still going strong; he has several novels ready to go.)
As for me? Unfortunately the book I wrote after my mother died will most likely never see the light of day. It’s dark, vicious, bitter, and the feedback I’ve gotten from first readers from a publisher has been “I couldn’t get past the first sixty pages. Too dark. Great writing, but too dark.” Even now, five years past the writing of it, I can’t find it in myself to revamp it again to make it lighter.
But after that experience, I took a deep breath and went with my gut to write a novel about a different kind of hero – a tribred, a family of brothers with demon/human/Fae bloodlines going back centuries. All three races are strong within each brother; each handles their burden in a unique way, which includes finding love when they least expect it.
That was the book that sold, three years after my mother died. Book 1, DEMON SOUL, came out in March of 2011. A short story called BLOOD DREAMS, a bridge of sorts between book 1 and book 2, released June 1, 2012. DEMON HUNT, book 2 in the series, will release this summer; and book 3, DEMON’S RAGE, will hopefully be ready to publish by late- 2012 early- 2013.
These are darker books with threads of humor, deep family connections, and love that knows no boundaries. The roots of these books lie within that dark and bitter book I wrote right after my mother died, sitting in her kitchen, tears streaming down my face at two-thirty in the morning.
I haven’t decided yet if I will continue on with the Caine Brothers series after RAGE comes out; it may be that the darkness within me is getting easier to bear, and I can move on to lighter fare, which is where my sunny and skewed personality usually fits.
My mother’s death gave birth to the professional writer in me. So in a very real way, she’s with me every time I sit down to write.
Bio:Christine Ashworth is a native of Southern California. The daughter of a writer and a psych major, she fell asleep to the sound of her father's Royal manual typewriter for years. In a very real way, being a writer is in her blood-her father sold his first novel before he turned forty; her brother sold his first book before he turned twenty-five.
At the tender age of seventeen, Christine fell in love with a man she met while dancing in a ballet company. She married the brilliant actor/dancer/painter/music man, and they now have two tall sons who are as scintillating as their parents, keeping the dinner conversation lively.
Christine's two dogs rule the outside, defending her vegetable garden from the squirrels, while a polydactyl rescue cat holds court inside the house. Everything else is in a state of flux, leaving her home life a cross between an improv class and a think-tank for the defense of humans against zombies.
You can find Christine here:
Website and Blog: http://christine-ashworth.com