Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Have You Suffered the End of Book Blues?

It’s my pleasure to welcome romantic suspense author, Christy Reece, to Over Coffee.

Christy says she grew up spending long summers reading and watching for the bookmobile—I can relate to that as we always lived in the rurals and the bookmobile was a big thing to a family of readers. Like Christy, my head was always filled with characters and story lines. I could daydream of my stories for hours in the summer and then tell stories to my siblings later that evening. My brothers did the same. I thought that was perfectly normal, growing up.

Christy’s topic is how you feel when you finish a book. As a reader, a good book has me longing to go back to the world created by the author. As a writer, typing the end, while satisfying does leave me at odds as to what to do with myself. I’ve spent so much time with this *world* and it's very real characters; I don’t want to really leave it. Christy calls it the end of the book blues. Very apt description, in my opinion.

Welcome to Over Coffee, Christy.


Hi Sia and everyone! I’m thrilled to be a guest at Over Coffee and look forward to visiting with my fellow writers and readers. Also, I have three books to give away!

Since I recently turned in the third book for my new trilogy, I thought I’d talk about a phenomenon that always happens to me once I hit that send key. I’ll stare mindlessly into space for a while, relieved that it’s finally done. Then reality slams into me and I find myself asking the question, “What now?”

Yes, I’ve got the end of book blues.

Writing is so often a solitary endeavor. Just you and your imagination sitting in front of a computer screen creating stories, characters, and worlds. You’re having conversations in your head with people who exist only to you and your job is to make them come alive to others. Some people might see this as odd behavior. For most writers, it’s just a normal workday. This profession is scary and exciting, intense and frustrating. So wonderfully kooky. But when it’s time to let those characters and their story go, I always get hit with some sort of sadness.

I was so excited to finish this book. After sleepless nights, tossing and turning with storylines and bits of conversation flowing through my head, consuming tons of chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol, I wanted nothing more than to finish this monster that I so loved. To get it over with and get on to something else.

Even though I adored the storyline, my characters still surprised and excited me and I can’t wait to get it in the hands of eager readers, I couldn’t wait to get it out the door. That’s the way of these things. A labor of love, but I wanted to get the labor over with as quickly and painlessly as possible.

I absolutely loved how my story came out. My characters had all the endearing quirks and strong traits that I wanted them to have. The story is emotional, thrilling and breathtaking in places. And as usual, there were points during the writing that I had no idea what my characters would do—one of my absolute favorite things when I’m writing.

But now it’s gone and I’m sad. As much as I wanted to finish it, a part of me didn’t want to let it go. Perhaps it’s the writer’s version of the empty nest syndrome.

It’s not like I don’t have plenty to do, believe me. Everything I put off while I was on deadline is still here, waiting on me. My house is full of spider webs. Delightfully convenient for Halloween—no decorating necessary! Now it’s back to looking like a dirty house. My fur-kids desperately need a bath and some extra TLC for being so patient with me. And my husband, bless him, would probably like to hear me say something other than the words, “Can’t. I’m on deadline.”

Well, now I can do all the things I put off, but I don’t want to.

The end of book blues is nothing new for me, but I still get caught completely by surprise each time. A rush to the finish line and then when I get there, it’s all so anti-climatic.

I could read…oh man, am I behind in my reading. My TBR stack could rival the Sears Tower in height. I could work on some new things for my website. I could start another book.

Yes, all of those things need to be done and quite honestly, I love doing them, but for some reason I don’t want to. Know what I really want to do? I want to go back to my story I just finished and play with it some more. Am I crazy? Don’t answer that!

It’s not like I won’t get several more opportunities to play with it. Revisions will come, along with copy edits and page proofs. But it’s just so pretty and shiny and I think I can make it shinier and I really really want to play with it.

Some of the anxiety comes from what my editor and agent will think of it. Will they love it as I do? It’s funny (not really) but I thought after I became published, submitting my manuscripts would be easier. The angst is still there; it’s just a different kind of angst.

Update: Both editor and agent read and loved the manuscript. Yay! One more hurdle out of the way. And I spoke with my editor regarding revisions and she just wants a couple of changes. Double yay!

But when those things are done and it’s out the door again, will I still want to play with it? I know by the time I go through copyedits and page proofs, I’ll be thrilled to be completely finished. But another book will come along, with another deadline and then another end of book blues.

Writers as a whole are a group of individuals with different beliefs, attitudes, strengths, weaknesses and goals. We’re a mass of human frailties and strengths, just like our characters. However, we also share specific characteristics and emotions within our group. One of the reasons I love being within a community of writers is that, as crazy and individualistic as I like to be, I love that we share some of the same experiences. In other words, I want my writer friends to say, “I know how you feel. That happened to me too. Here’s what I did.”

So have you experienced the end of book blues? When you finish a book, can you let it go and get back to a normal life or do you have trouble getting back into the swing of things? Do you have a plan of action when you finish a book? If you have suggestions, please feel free to share!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Growing up in a tiny community in Alabama boasting only one stop sign and a gas station gave Christy ample opportunity to create daring adventures in her head. When she wasn't thinking of her story characters, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys kept her entertained and out of trouble. Later came the chills of Stephen King and the thrills of John Grisham, but the romance genre always held a strong place in her heart.

After leaving her career with a major insurance company, the characters in her head came alive again and Christy decided to write her own stories. And now, she and her characters couldn't be happier.

A member of Romance Writers' of America, and International Thriller Writers, Christy lives in Alabama with her husband, two incredibly cute canines and one very shy turtle.

Christy’s first sale was a romantic suspense trilogy to Ballantine in 2007. The books, RESCUE ME, RETURN TO ME and RUN TO ME were back-to-back releases Spring 2009. Another back-to-back trilogy, NO CHANCE, SECOND CHANCE and LAST CHANCE will be released early spring 2010. The backdrop of both trilogies is an organization called Last Chance Rescue. An elite group of mercenaries who do whatever it takes, no matter the cost, to rescue the innocent.


For more information about Christy and her books, visit her website at http://christyreece.com
You can find excerpts of her books and and blurbs on the tough men and women she writes about. There is information, blurbs, and excerpts on her next trilogy due out this coming Spring.

40 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

Christy, I'm so glad you're here with us today. Love your topic. It's one I could relate to on several level.

Help yourself to coffee and whatever else takes your fancy on the breakfast bar. I even have bacon flavored doggie treats for your darlings, lol!

As I was reflecting on your article, I got to thinking that writing a book is much like giving birth, sans the horrendous back labor, lol! So you're saying we get a form of Postpartum Depression, when we type *the end* and send it off?

Jane said...

Sometimes finishing a book can be a bittersweet feeling. I like the book so much that I don't want it to end even after the HEA.

Judi Fennell said...

No plan of action when I finish it. I have tried to dive right in to the next one, but there are those pesky "To Do" lists than get pushed aside while on deadline.

But I completely "get" wanting to go back and play with it. You finished it; the book is written. The hard part of creating it is over; now it's time to enjoy it. But you've got another monster to create. Maybe it's procrastination to want to go play with the one you just finished since that'll put off having to start the next? Dunno. But I get it. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Christy
Just wanted to say hi. I just suggested your books to someone in a reading slump & you're the cure LOL. It's funny that you used the empty nest comparison with finishing your book. Many authors say they can't pick a fave book they've written because they're like children. Have fun today. Mary G

Christy Reece said...

Hi Sia and everyone! I'm dropping in to say good morning but need to get hubby off to work. I'll be back with you in about an hour or so. Till then, grab you some more coffee and maybe a gooey cinnamon roll. I've heard that blogosphere food has no calories!

Kat Sheridan said...

Good morning, Christy, and nice to meet you! I'm still new to this writing thing, and have only written 'The End' once. It was incredibly emotional, since I didn't even realize it was coming to an end.

To me, writing is more like dating. You meet this cool guy and sparks fly and wow, you just can't wait to spend time together, get to know him, etc. Things go great for awhile but you start to see all the flaws, he starts consuming too much of your time, you just want time to yourself but he's always there making demands, and then, one day, you get to THE END. It's bittersweet. You had some laughs, some good times, but really, it's over and time to move on. Sure, you may see one another again, maybe have dinner, even spend some exended time together, but it's finished.

And besides, you met this NEW really cool guy, who's got a story to tell you, things to discover...

And yes, Sia, coffee would be lovely about now! You wouldn't happen to have any Kona would you?

Terry Dubbs said...

Hi Christy - what a lovely interview. I've written "The End" only twice. The first time - not a good experience. LOL This last time, well, it was better. :) I agree with Judi, however, on the To-Do lists and getting involved in another WIP. Love your work - and can't wait to have time to read more. :) Have a wonderful day, Sia and Christy!
Terry

Ida Brugler said...

Good morinng Christy,
I loved your topic, and i believe thats a great way to look at it. Keep having conversations in your head with your characters It really does make them seem that they could leap off the page, you feel thier emotions. If i can not get into the first chapter of a book i put it down and do not read it. period! I can gladly say i have never put down one of yours. Keep up the wonderful work.
Ida

Connie T said...

Since I'm not a writer I don't actually know how I would feel after the completion of a book. But I imagine I would feel a big sense of relief, accomplishment, pride, and probably some amount of fear wondering if my readers will like it. LOL!

Sandra Sookoo said...

When I'm writing the book, there are times when I get separation anxiety for my characters. Alot of my writing is stand alone pieces so I know I won't see them again, but some are series or trilogies and the ending isn't so bad because I'll get in touch with favorite characters soon :-)

I agree though. When you hit send to the editor, you do zone out. What now? Oh, that's right. Pay attention to all the other voices demanding to have their stories told.

Oh, and housework LOL

Christy Reece said...

Hi Sia,I think for me it's a matter of just hating to say goodbye to characters I've fallen in love with. They've entertained me and I've gotten to know them so well, it's just hard to cut them out of my head and go on to something or someone else.

Christy Reece said...

Oh Jane, I'm the same way! I don't know how many times I've read a book and loved it so much, I had trouble getting into another one. Lots of times, I'll go back to the book and read it again or maybe some of my favorite parts.

Now I've got that old song, "Never Can Say Goodbye" in my head!

Christy Reece said...

Hey Judi, I'm the queen of procrastination, so I'm sure that's part of it. I'm thankful that right now my books are all connected in some way. Most of the characters in the books were introduced as secondary characters in previous books, so I don't have to create completely new people. And I do like to have former characters show up in new books. LOL. There's that letting go thing again!

Christy Reece said...

Hey Mary G! Yes, I think that might be part of it too. Feeling as though these characters are my children and they've gone off and left me. And I have a tendency to want to go back and make sure they're as pretty and shiny as I thought they were. And that their happy ever after is as good as they deserve. And no, I could never pick a favorite character. I love them all, quirks and all!

Thanks for recommending me to your friend! You're a sweetheart!

Christy Reece said...

Hi Kat, never thought of it in a dating analogy, but maybe you're on to something. It's been fun and we've had some laughs or in my case, tears, but now it's time to move on. LOL. I'll try that!

And congrats on getting to the end of a manuscript. I get a bit emotional when I get to the end of each one. Such a wonderful feeling!

Christy Reece said...

Hey Terry, congrats on two manuscripts. That's awesome! I think I need to get to a To Do list immediately after I finish up my revisions on this one and page proofs on another. Marking off accomplishments always makes me feel better!

Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words!

Christy Reece said...

Thanks so much, Ida! I so appreciate the kind words and encouragement. I'm thrilled that my characters are alive for you. That's an author's dream come true!

Christy Reece said...

Hey Connie, yes, it's all those things. Having these people in my head that I so love and hoping everyone loves them as much as I do. On top of that is a sense of accomplishment, pride and incredible relief that I actually finished another one!

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi!

Christy Reece said...

Hi Sandra, I've yet to write a book where I didn't fall in love with a secondary character and have to tell his or her story. LOL. At some point, I'd better learn how to do that. The Last Chance Rescue series can't go on forever, even as much as I would love for it to.

Thanks for stopping by. After all this encouragement, perhaps I should do a little housework. Sigh...

Mary G said...

Hi Again Christy
I used the words "pure genius" to describe your books. I was intrigued with the villain as he was so smartly written. Do you have any background in psychology to come up with someone like that?

Elle J Rossi said...

Hi Christy,

So nice to meet you at Over Coffee! I so want to have the end of book blues. I'm working on my first 2 books right now and can't wait for the day when I can say I finished one. But I've grown so close to my characters, I can completely understand why you're so sad.

Elle

Christy Reece said...

Hi Mary, thank you for such an awesome compliment! I heart you so much!

The villains in RESCUE ME were interesting for me because they were a family of villains. The LaRues were unique in that each of them had some kind of evil in them, but they also loved each other and had certain lines they wouldn't cross. Alfred and Inez wouldn't cheat on each other, but had no problem with deplorable actions against those not in their family. And don't get me started on Marcus!

The villain in RETURN TO ME was a bit easier. I've known some sleazy, good old boys in my time. Not that evil, thankfully! This guy gave me chills more than once! And it was nice bringing to justice one of the bad guys from RESCUE ME.

In RUN TO ME, I got into Donald Rosemount's head and started to see him as someone so totally delusional and off the charts crazy. Somehow, he honestly thought he was above all humans, so the things he did were totally justified to him. I think if he'd been larger in stature, he might have been a different kind of villain, perhaps a serial killer or something. Instead, he's more like a mad scientist.

And no, though I took some psychology classes and have a degree in social work, my villains come to me just like any other character.

In my new trilogy, I think the villains are incredibly interesting. Lots of obsessional, twisted minds playing havoc with my wonderful heroes and heroines. But in the end, they get their comeuppance!

Thanks again, Mary!

Christy Reece said...

Hi Elle (love your name by the way). Just keep on writing, you'll get there! And when you do, give yourself a huge pat on the back. And oh, chocolate if it's available!

Kim F. said...

Hi Christy!

I'm not a writer so I can't comment on that but I do have end of book blues.Sometimes the book is so good you can't get into another one right away or you want to run out and get the next in the series!

Just 1 thing though, who says the The Last Chance Rescue can't go on forever! LOL

Love your writing and can't wait to read your next trilogy!

Kim

Mary G said...

I promise this is the last comment!!
Another thing that will impress me about a book is "no loose ends". It's a tough thing for most stories but your books have such intricate plots & everything is tight & neat.
Do you have a method for that? Maps, grids, etc.?

Christy Reece said...

Hi Kim, I'm the same way and do love it if there's another book in the series to be read. I think that's one of the many great things about back to back books, especially if it's a series. I love being able to dive into another book without having to wait a year or more. So frustrating! But then, alas, after I've read the last one, I'm blue and have trouble getting into another book. If I've really enjoyed a book or series, I like to savor them. LOL. Kind of a like a really good meal!

And thanks so much for your kind words. I wish LCR could last forever. I do so love Noah McCall and his people!

Christy Reece said...

Hi Mary, I wish so much I was an organized writer with maps, grids, storyboards, intricate synopses and a plan. That sounds so together! But it's so not me. I have a vague idea of who my characters are, a little of their background and what the plot might entail, but that's pretty much it. And every time I think I have a process and this is the way I write, I find out the next book won't work that way. Each book has been a different process. Some books flow and I can sit down and write pages upon pages. Other books, I feel as though each word is a painful struggle. I liken it to carving granite with a plastic spoon.

I hate loose ends too. So difficult closing a book and saying to yourself, "But what about...?" LOL. And there's no one around to answer your question.

Thanks again for your sweet words. You know you always make me smile!

oklanannie said...

Hi Christy! Great subject matter for today's blog. End of the book blues is exactly what I get everytime I finish one of your books -- I never want them to end and I'm always waiting for the next one! My TBR stack is begging for your new ones as I type. Can't wait to see what's in store for us in the next three early next year. We voted at our book club last week and you won (by a landslide I might add) as BEST NEW SERIES & FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR OF 2009!

Gotta run errands but wanted to stop in and wish you a wonderful holiday season and extend my best wishes for a bright and prosperous new year to you!

OklaNannie

~Sia McKye~ said...

No worries about repeat comments. This is a discussion so as a READER or a WRITER, feel free to tell us all about it.

My goodness, Christy, why didn't you let me know the coffee bar was getting low, sheesh. I'll pull up a few more comfy chairs. I have a nice fire going here so enjoy the conversation and goodies. :-)

Dana Fredsti said...

What a great topic, Christy!

I think I might be one of only writers I know who breathes a huge sigh of relief when a project is completed and doesn't look back. I always enjoy the sense of having a few days of free time before the next deadline looms and I have to dive into the next project. I hope this doesn't make me a bad mother...

Christy Reece said...

Okay, now you've made me cry! Thank you so much, OklaNannie! I've never had such an honor before; that's just about the most awesome thing I've heard in a long time. Please tell your book club thank you for me! You definitely made my day!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season as well!

~Sia McKye~ said...

As a writer, there are times it's hard to disconnect from my story and start the next, even if I know what the *next* is.

I use the time between to catch up on those things left undone. I clean my house, do outside chores--I raise Great Danes--so I usually do a thorough cleaning of my pens, dog houses, and whelping areas. Sorta a spring cleaning thing. It gives me the time to let my mind relax after *the end* and lets my mind loose for the next story. It has to percolate a bit in my mind before I write.

I imagine working to deadlines will make that intermission a bit shorter, lol!

A lot of interesting comments here and I'm enjoying the reading of them. :-)

Christy Reece said...

Oh Dana, it's what I aspire to be. I would love to just say goodbye and not look back. I don't think it makes you a bad mother! In fact, I'm sure that much healthier. Good for you!

Thanks for stopping by!

Christy Reece said...

Sia, that sounds very healthy too. Now I'm feeling really bad for not doing that cleaning I need to do. Those cobwebs won't go away on their own!

~Sia McKye~ said...

No, they don't dammit! Neither do the dust bunnies. I bet that's why Jayne Ann Krentz made them into *cat-like* creatures in her Jayne Castle books. After awhile of looking at them, they do take on a life of their own, lol!

Kara C said...

Hey Christy,
Rough week around here, but wanted to stop by and say hi. In fact, the week has been so crazy, a good ol' comfort book was needed. You know the kind, one you've read repeatedly but still go back to time and time again? Went straight to the Last Chance books. Feel better already. To keep myself from a reader's version of end of book blues, I just remind myself that the new one is coming soon!

Christy Reece said...

Hey, Kara, you sweetie! Thanks for saying my books are comfort reads. Those are magical words to any author. And thanks for stopping by here. I hope your week gets better!

Christy Reece said...

Hi All! I'm popping back in to thank you for visiting with me yesterday. I really enjoyed the day and hope you'll come by my site and visit me often.

I'm going to let Sia choose the three winners of the books. As soon as she does, I'll let the winners choose which one of my books they'd like to have.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and hoping none of you suffer the end of book blues!

Christy Reece said...

Hi All! Popping back in to announce the winners of the book giveaway. Congratulations to Elle, Ida and Connie!

Ladies, please email me at christy@christyreece.com and I'll arrange to get it to you.

Thanks to all for your comments. You have even inspired me to do some cleaning. Watch out cobwebs!

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season! Be sure to come by my site and say hi when you have time. I'll be having a few announcements and giveaways before the end of the year.

Special thanks to Sia for inviting me over for coffee. I had a blast!

Ida Brugler said...

Thank you, Ida