Goddess, I love these stories.
For one thing, they were dragon ridden–I started writing and couldn’t stop. I love it when that happens, even though I’ve had to learn to temper that ride with real things, like housework and feeding the family and going to the bathroom.
For another, they represent everything I’ve come to believe about love. Chemistry may be a bolt from the blue, friendships may spring up in an instant, but love, real love, comes from existing side by side, seeing the best and the worst and maintaining that slow, strong burn that can sustain both parties of one of you is brought low. Tate and Brian are friends first, helpmates second, and lovers a strong, spectacular third. The first two things feed the third one, and it wouldn’t be such a precious emotion if it wasn’t for all of the work that goes into it on the other fronts. Dating is fun–don’t get me wrong. But in a way, dating is “Disneyland love”. Dating is always the best of things, putting on your best clothes, leaving behind the unpleasant realities in order to make a good impression.
What happens in Talker and Talker’s Redemption is sort of the exact opposite. It’s loving each other through the worst of things. It’s finding the best of yourself for your lover when you couldn’t find it for yourself. It’s courage where you didn’t think you’d find any, and humor when you have very little to laugh at and optimism when the only thing you have to wake up to is your lover, and that’s more than enough.
Talker’s Redemption is available from Dreamspinner Press tonight, and through the other avenues, like Amazon.com and ARe tomorrow or the day after. (It always takes a day or two for the story to hit the other sites.)
I am, of course, anxious as to how it will be received.
Everyone’s chief complaint about Talker was that it was too short–they wanted to see more. When asked why I wrote it as a novella instead of a novel, my answer was simply that it hurt too much. Talker’s life, Brian’s life–they are painful, and while I found that their stories very much worth telling, it just HURT to live in that place with them, so I stuck to the flashback format, even though I knew it drove people crazy, mostly because it gave the whole piece a sort of hallucinatory, prose-poem feel that added depth when I was emotionally incapable of giving it length.
This one was worse. I literally relived Tate’s worst moments in his head with him, when he was frightened and vulnerable and in SO much pain. I used the same format, and it made the emotional peak of the story just that much more painful, and it left me as open and as bleeding as it left Tate. The ending is quick, and sad, but it, hopefully, leaves the reader with that hope, the same hope they had at the end of the first one: as long as these two people can continue to wake up to each other, that’s all they need.
It’s funny–I’ll peruse goodreads.com and try to find a rhyme or a reason to why people will like one writer or one story as opposed to another. I’ve long since realized that so very much of this is subjective, shaped by a reader’s past experiences, perceptions, and beliefs about mankind in general, and so very much of this is out of my control. But I’ve noticed that of the things I CAN control, people tend to be more passionate about my angst than about my comedy. This isn’t true for everyone, but if you put two antagonists in a ring, one of them fighting for Talker and the other one fighting for Bella’s Brother or Danny Fit, I’m thinking that even though Balla and Danny are higher rated, it would be the person fighting for Talker who would win.
It’s why I had to write a sequel. I’m passionate about these two kids too. But it’s also why I kept it short. You can’t sustain the sort of energy it takes to win that fight and continue to do things like eat and sleep and raise kids and function–at least sanely. You come home from a walk or a trip to the grocery store in tears and sobs enough times from running that plotline in your head, and your husband starts making crazy talk– things like taking the computer away or not writing for a while or maybe, picking another genre, like haikus about the cats.
So Talker’s Redemption (I also call it Talker 2) is short. But I hope it’s also powerful. And I hope that everyone who has rooted for these two kids from the beginning loves it too.
And, of course, there is the inevitable: Holy Goddess, Merciful God, let it not suck!