Well, it’s the pointy end of the thingy – nearly time to release my first novel to the world. I’m still gathering feedback, and still working on the cover, but I’m aiming to make it available on Saturday 27 June, in digital format at least.
Which has certainly been a long time in coming!
I had the initial idea that has become Atomic Goddess: Isis Reborn in 2008. I started the first draft in November, in my first attempt at National Novel Writing Month, which I successfully completed with just over 50,000 words. I went on to finish that draft over the following months, and started revising and editing immediately.
So why has it taken me so long to get it to this stage – ready to publish?
The main reason is that my writing was still a hobby back then, and I felt no sense of urgency to complete working on it. I had a finished draft pretty quickly, and started the second book in the trilogy in 2010, for that year’s National Novel Writing Month.
But I had other stories to work on, and I wanted to devote more time to them than to this new story. I tinkered with a revision here, a light edit there, over the years, always thinking the finish line would be just around the corner. Years slipped by without a great deal of progress as I worked and reworked this story and others – until 2018.
That was when I finally decided to regard my writing more seriously, and take the Indie route to publishing. One thing that had always put me off was the thought of trying to get my stories published traditionally – and having to relinquish so much control over them in the process. I knew I would have little or no say in the terms of any contract, nor with ‘suggestions’ for changes from the editor, their style of editing, or what went on the cover.
Then I realised what a revolution Indie publishing was going through, and that it was possible to do it myself, therefore retaining control over all aspects of my publications. I started to apply myself seriously to learning about all aspects of Indie publishing, from building an author platform to marketing, self-promotion, and cover design.
And that wasn’t the only Eureka moment.
Something that had started to bother me tremendously as I worked on building my profile as an author was my consistency of genre/subject matter. Sure, nearly all my stories fell into the fantasy genre, in two main sub-categories: High Fantasy, and Historical Fantasy. Yet this particular story about the girl reborn as Isis was neither.
You see, when I first wrote it, the setting was contemporary. It worked okay, though I had a nagging feeling that it could be strengthened in some way. I just hadn’t been able to put my finger on how.
Then I finally realised what it was – not a single other novel-length story I had was contemporary. All were set in either highly stylised Medieval-type worlds, or in past times in the real world – like the Victorian era, the 1920’s, the 1940’s (what I came to term as ‘retro-fantasy’).
And it clicked.
My character already possessed attributes or items that associated her with an earlier time period – the 1960’s. She was a fan of the Rolling Stones and other music of the era. She had a late 1950’s model of car. She had the look of a girl from then. And when I thought about re-setting the story in that time period, everything fell into place.
And why not? I’ve loved the 1960’s for a long time – I discovered the Beatles when I was 16, and it grew from there. I have a whopping huge collection of music and memorabilia from that era, books and DVD’s about the 1960’s – particularly the music. I knew it would work.
It took a bit of extra research, a change of title, and another couple of revisions, but it was relatively easy to shift my story back a few decades, so it would fit in with the rest of my story canon and be set in a now ‘historic’ time period. Feedback from beta readers has been highly positive, and I’m confident the story is ready to release with only a couple of minor tweaks.
I also intend to release a print version and an audiobook that can be ordered here, through my website, in the coming weeks. The second book in the trilogy is shaping up well in the editing process, and hopefully will be ready by the end of the year, with the third book coming out next year.
What a journey this has been! Perhaps it needed to take this long, to accommodate not only the growth of the story, but my own growth into a professional author. I’m glad I’ve always felt hesitant to rush head-long into getting it finished and out there before I – or the story – was ready.
Keep your eyes on this site – Atomic Goddess: Isis Reborn will be free to download in digital format until the third book is published, when I will put the trilogy out as a boxed set as well. I truly hope you enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it.
Keep a smile on your dial until next time, and peace and love in your heart
From Lana Lea and her time-travelling muse