Over the years, I've probably written something like 20-30 novels/novellas. I have never had a problem sitting down at a computer and banging out 2,000-4,000 words in one sitting, just letting the words flow out of my head like water. It has always been a pleasant experience, and never something that has ever been difficult for me.
And then I started writing Empath.
Empath was a book that weaseled its way into my book publishing plan and demanded to be written. It's a book about a young woman suffering through break-up hell until she's transported to a fantasy world where she has the power to feel what others are feeling. Just one small problem - there's a dragon in the mountains that eats people like that. And she might be hearing it in her head, tempting her deeper into her own darkness (grab it on your favorite ebook/paperback store).
On my personal blog (susherevans.com), I've talked a lot about how Empath is one of the most personal books I've ever written. Lauren is the opposite of a Mary Sue, she has all of my worst faults. How I catastrophize everything, how my anxiety can spiral out of control until it's got my heart and my breath. How I spent a very long time drowning and pretending that I'm fine because I was afraid of what others would think. And Lauren's big scary fears--those are mine.
So as you might can imagine, writing this book was…not very much fun.
Barring the weekend where I dropped 18,000 words (Focusing on all the non-anxiety parts of the book), it was hard for me to get at least 1k down per day. I wrote blog posts about how I was avoiding writing the book on avoidance. I started a whole new series and did everything except work on this book.
But when it was done and the betas read it and sent their comments and I sat down to go through it to incorporate, I was shocked. Shocked at seeing myself on the pages of the book I had written. Shocked to see how many little pieces of my life had made it onto the page, both triggering my anxiety but also my memory of how much I'd grown since that really terrible time in my life.
When I finished the book, I thought that no one else would have this kind of experience. I dreamed about reviewers claiming that Lauren was a whiney brat and needed to get a grip. And I'm sure there's a lot of folks who'll feel that way (which is fine, by the way). But the majority of folks who've read it have spoken to me about how it reminded them of a dark time in their own life and while it "broke their feels" a little, it left them feeling good.
For me, this book has given me courage to face my deepest, darkest dragons. To ask the question, "Am I more afraid of the thing, or am I afraid of the fear of the thing?" And most importantly, a reminder to #slayyourfears every single day.
About the Author
S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in a small, suburban town in northwest Florida, she was seventeen before she realized that not all beach sand is white. From a young age, she has always been a long-winded individual, first verbally (to the chagrin of her ever-loving parents) and then eventually channeled into the many novels that dotted her Windows 98 computer in the early 2000’s. After high school, she got the hell outta dodge and went to school near the nation’s capital, where she somehow landed jobs at National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and the British Broadcasting Corporation, capping off her educational career with delivering the commencement address to 20,000 of her closest friends. She determined she’d goofed off long enough with that television nonsense and got a “real job” as an IT consultant. Yet she continued to write, developing 20 page standard operating procedures and then coming home to write novels about badass bounty hunters, teenage magic users, and other nonsense. After a severe quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided to finally get a move on and share those novels with the world in hopes that she will never have to write another SOP again.
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Lauren Dailey is in break-up hell.
Stuck between moving on and letting go, she puts on a brave face while crying herself to sleep at night. But when a mysterious voice promises escape from her sadness, she is suddenly transported to a new world. And in this place, the slightest touch pulls her out of her tortured emotions into the mind of another - an empath.
The villagers - sweet Aerona and her mischievous twins, wise Siors, and hunky Cefin - welcome her and the blessings her empath powers bring. But this world is not without its dangers. The Anghenfil, a fire-breathing monster, has haunted the village for decades, and has a taste for empaths. And that mysterious voice promising escape from sadness? It's sounding more like a whisper tinged with smoke and embers.
Can Lauren keep the monsters in the mountain and in her head at bay? Or will she succumb to the darkness like the empath before her…
Find more retailers on my website: http://www.susherevans.com/book/empath/
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