I am stealing this idea from Hailey Rose (who stole this from someone else lol).
You were so totally not supposed to happen. I was supposed to be listening to my Scottish folk songs playlist and spin stories about the songs in my head. We were driving home from church one Sunday night at the end of August. And as we passed a city, I saw a man and a woman walking along the side of the highway. People on the highway always intrigue me. This time, it triggered a memory. A memory of a young man, standing alone on the highway in the night, asking for a lift.
On a whim, I pulled out my phone and began to write his story, intending to pull the couple's story in too.
You began with a big young man named Zach, who was walking down the wrong path and whose father had thrown him out of the house in consequence. He was bold and sarcastic and hard, but he loved his little sister. He was picked up by some Christian brothers...
That's where I stopped, because we arrived home. By now, I'd fallen in love with you. Two of my writer friends, Kassie & Ryana Lynn, sprinted and wrote every night, and I decided to join in and work on you.
I had just read Faith Potts' Freedom and Kaitlyn Krispense's Beloved. The message of suicide prevention had touched me, and I randomly decided that my guy intended to suicide. I expected this to be a quick story of salvation. But as I wrote out the scene where he was presented with the Gospel... I found that he wasn't ready to be saved. His story wasn't over yet.
Around this time I also decided that I'd change his name. Kate's main character's name's meaning was important for the story and I decided I'd like that for you, too. So I renamed him Nathaniel (God has given), nicknamed Nathan (he gave). Later on, I discovered that he was part French-Canadian, and I changed his name to the French version--Nathanaël. Which ended up a good reason, because in French, the name "Nathan" is incorporated in the name "Nathanaël." (In other words, the "Nathan" part of Nathanaël is pronounced the same as the name "Nathan." Since you are a bilingual book I'm sure you'll understand, but I hope that our English readers understand too. xP)
From this tiny, 1k story, you began to grow. Thanks to a challenge Brooklyne gave me, I wrote at least 100 words in you every day. Kass & Ry are literally your godmothers--they fangirled so hard, gave me so much encouragement, and helped me figure out so many things. By NaNo 2019, you were at 20k and I expected you to end soon. I decided to finish you during NaNo and then write other flash fictions.
Ha. Haaa. You had very different plans, my dear.
Writing you was a journey such as I never expected. You were so not what I expected you to be. You kept twisting. When I thought you were ending, you marched on. You ran into places and I ran after you, wondering why on earth you'd decided to add that. (I did put my foot down once. But I suspect you were intending to do that all along). You morphed a lot, and kept throwing information at me. Since I only pantsed you, I was always finding out contrary or new information that meant I had to change a lot of the beginning of the story. It also meant I had to do a lot of wandering from one plot point to another. And it meant that I found myself with a 70k novel on my hands that I had to divide into chapters.
You were also the book to reach the milestones I'd dreamed of and despaired of reaching for years. You hit the prestigious 50,000 words and merely laughed. We had a lot of ground left to cover. You dragged me on through the ever-more-glittery numbers of 60k, 70k, and 80k before you finally decide to end at 84k. EIGHTY-FOUR THOUSAND WORDS. I remember seeing that a friend had reached 70,000 in her novel and going "wow.... I will never reach that. How amazing!!"
You were also the book that won me NaNo. One of my biggest writing dreams. Oh, I was so happy that day. I was too happy to even scream or dance around. I could only grin, clasp my hands, and feel a huge happiness. I'll never forget it.
Oh, yes, you weren't easy to write. But you were so worth it.
You reinforced what God has taught so much this year in my writing. When I surrender my dreams to him, He gives me far more than I ever hoped for.
Four years ago, writing out little stories of under 10k--light, slapstick, happy stories--I never guessed I'd tackle the themes of suicide, drunkenness, and intense hatred & bitterness. I never saw it coming. But I'm so grateful God gave me you to write. Maybe you'll never help a suicidal person. I know I probably made mistakes writing you. But maybe--just maybe--you will. And even if you don't--I hope and pray that you can be an encouragement to someone. To show that God can always use our pain for His glory. To show that there is always hope. And I hope that you show someone that we can't just stand there and talk; we have to get up and do something. There are several small themes in you. I hope at least one of them can touch someone.
I did my best. The rest is in God's hands. I don't know what He intends to do with you, but I surrender you to Him and I pray He uses you. And I know He can use you for His glory.
P.S. Please stop ending me sequel ideas. I do not want to write a sequel. And one can only write so many short story sequels. Besides, knowing your deceiving character *squints* they'll probably end up novellas, if they don't end up full-blown novels.
P.P.S. Also I'm not pleased with you for suddenly requesting a cover change. Don't you see I have enough things to do with fussing over you all the time??