I am breathing. And I am repeating this in my head. There are ten days until The Tower is released. There is a reason this story is my fifth book and it wasn't my first, even though it has been in my head since I was writing How One Attempts to Chase Gravity. The reason is that not everyone will like this story. Let me back up. There is no story, no novel, no anything that is for everyone. I just mean that the Gem City series isn't controversial in any way, unless you consider off-screen sex in YA romance novels controversial. Which I don't.
This book though. I knew while I was writing it that it would maybe offend. Maybe anger. Maybe turn off some readers. I also knew that maybe it would make some readers relate to things that they can't talk about openly. Maybe it would make some people realize that they aren't alone in the things that they feel when they go to a dark place. Maybe teens who don't fit the mold of what their parents want or what their school wants will really GET this book and these characters, and for those people, that's why I wrote this book.
This story contains so much of me. So much of the pain and trauma that I've lived through, and so much of my own biting and sometimes dark sense of humor. My readers didn't get to see that in Gem City, though those books contain a lot of my heart too. So I sit here today as ARC reviews are starting to roll in, and I breathe. I breathe in as much light and self-confidence as I can muster, and I breathe out the self-doubt and the second-guessing and the fear. Because this was my story to write. I did it for all of the Rowyn's and Reed's and Rose's and Jared's in the world who don't see things in black and white and who fight to learn something from their experiences and who aren't afraid to change their mind when they learn something new.
So this book, it's for those of you who live in the gray. Sometimes it's dark here, but sometimes it's really freeing to know that you can change your mind. You can find what works for you and you can live your life so that it means something. On your terms. I'm remembering this for when the inevitable bad review comes in, for when someone gets offended, for when I have to ask myself if I did wrote the right story. I will come back to this, and I will know that I did, because I said what only I can say, and that's why I'm a writer.