I did an interview the other day regarding writing and the writing life, and I was asked what my favorite part of the writing and publishing process was, and why. It’s a hard question because some the things that are under your control—like the writing—aren’t always pleasurable. For example, I hate first drafts. They’re fumbling, humbling, error-ridden, messy, arduous. I like rewriting because at least there’s something to shape, and a hope that you’re eventually going to end up with something resembling a book.
Conversely, some of the things that are not under your control are actually pleasurable. I know this sounds oxymoronic, but when you can feel a gathering of people around your book, those who are genuinely excited about it and in a position to do something about it, that’s magic. And that’s what I told the interviewer.
But my favorite part of writing is where I am with SWERVE right now: silence. I’ve spoken with publicity, and those wheels are turning. The tour schedule is being planned, while my editor speaks with sales and marketing. The ARCs have gone out (Advanced Reader Copies—for reviewers, bloggers, and author endorsements), and I can tell they’re landing because I’m starting to get photos like this:
(Incidentally, as much as I fly I have never seen one of my books being read on an airplane in person … and I’d like to. Bucket list fodder, folks.)
I’m also starting to hear back from other authors. If you follow me on social media, you saw that I received an amazing endorsement from (THE) Christopher Golden last week:
“SWERVE is a relentless, brutal thriller with breakneck pacing and heartfelt characterization. Pettersson is a prizefighter, keeping the twists coming like punches to the head, but by the novel’s end both author and reader emerge victorious.”
—Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of TIN MEN and SNOWBLIND
And this week I’m happy to share this absolute gem from (THE) Kim Harrison, who has also read it and—I can say it, she’ll let me say it—loved it:
“Summed up in four words: one twisted, horrifying ride. Vicki Pettersson’s SWERVE kept me up the night after I finished it. Her writing always holds a gritty truth, but she pulls out all the stops in this new thriller set in the Mojave Desert, sending me on a dreadlocks-tight journey of Kristine Rush’s past and present, proving that childhood scars never heal, but we can survive and find strength in them. I stand haunted at Pettersson’s vision of what one person can endure in the name of love, the pain another can cause in the name of the same. Perfectly terrifying.”
—Kim Harrison, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Outside of my betas and agent and editor, these are the first people who’ve read my book. They’re peers. They’re professionals. And when they like something that I’ve been living with for the past four years? Yeah, it’s a definite high. Monster high.
So it’s not all silence, is it?
Yet this is still a golden age for me in re. to SWERVE. See, once it’s out there it will belong wholly to the readers, which is the way it’s supposed to be. But for now—just a couple of months—I can look at the finished product and love it without reservation. I don’t have to protect myself against negative reviews, I don’t have to put on my armor and hold up my shield against the battering this four-year-old baby is gonna take from someone who perused it in a night. It’ll happen, and I’ll keep my head ducked behind the next thriller that I’m working on, using that as my shield, but for now I can look at it and love it and just be vulnerable.
So that’s where I am right now. Looking at it with bald hope and dreaming: someday, somewhere … I’m going to scare the shit out of someone on an airplane.