I had originally set out to write a novel about gay werewolves in NYC. I had even written 50,000 words of a first draft during NaNoWriMo years ago. Then I put the book down and basically forgot about it, moving forward with other books while I left that one to marinate.
A couple years later the best cat ever died and I had to learn to be an adult without him. I was struggling and needed some way to process my grief beyond getting up in the morning and putting myself to bed without him there.
I started playing Dragon Age II, which helped (I’ll write that essay someday) and I read some fan fiction and that helped and I read a few books (High Fidelity, Love is a Mixtape) and watched a few films (Only Lovers Left Alive, RENT) and they also helped. I remembered that werewolf book. I remembered how much I liked those characters. I remembered one of them was grieving, too.
The story evolved. I yanked out all the fantasy, knowing I didn’t have the energy to world build. I moved it to a fictional East Coast town, knowing I didn’t have the energy to research NYC for accuracy. The revised setting let me write without worrying about magic or where the Empire State Building was in relation to my character’s homes.
I took “write what you know” to heart and stole characters from other places and layered in people I love and places and things and references to stuff I know like the back of my hand and the words started coming out.
The writing eased the grief, even when I cried while typing. I loved these characters and ached for them as much as I ached in my own heart.
Yet for all that it came from grief, this is a book full of hope. There is joy in it, there is fun, there is music and food and love and it’s more full of life than anything I’ve ever written.
And now it’s not just mine anymore, it’s yours, too. I give it to you to embrace and enjoy and take from it what you need. Wherever, however this book finds you, I hope it reminds you to treat yourself kindly and with patience and with love. From my heart to yours, this is my gift to you.
Learn more about it here, or on its own website, takeonme.xyz. Buy a copy, if you can. I highly recommend the print edition, but the digital is good, too.
Spread the word when you’re done, if you’d like to support me and the book. Thank you.