Threshold hits next week, and to be honest, I didn’t expect this release to be as big of a deal as it is. Not “big deal” like it’s going to be massive or successful (though I hope) but it’s a big deal to me and my time as a writer, and the closer we get, the more I realize that impact.
2007. I was halfway through my film degree, and every thought was a lofty ambition. I wrote scripts and short stories and shot films and immersed myself in creativity. There was nothing I couldn’t do with enough ink and caffeine. I had recently discovered NaNoWriMo (though I was far from finding a group) and was certain this was something I wanted to do.
Threshold was a buzzing in my brain that, like most of my stories, started with an idea. It would be a beautiful failure that year, but it would follow me. The story had planted a seed in my brain, and that seed began to flourish. It was an idea that I knew would get under people’s skin – how could it not?
My delight is introducing my readers to something ordinary and building that into something terrible that clings to them in reality. I like to think I am accomplishing that. With Empty Hallways, I capitalized on the inherent creepiness of hospitals. In Threshold, I explore the oddity that is our own reflections.
Have you ever just stared at your reflection? Not yourself, but your reflection: the person looking back at you; the world they are limited to living in. But if you stare too long, things start to unravel. You can say a word so many times, it stops making sense and feels more like a made up sound. I’ve stared at my reflection so long that it doesn’t even compute anymore: just a mess of shapes and colors that follow my impulses. That’s where the fun begins.
If you stare too long at any object, your brain starts canceling out unnecessary information. In other words, your reflection changes. It starts taking on a life of its own. (Yes, this is the kind of insanity that some of my stories start from.)
I tried to gather all of these thoughts and put them onto paper and create a story. I was clearly not ready back in 2007, but the seed kept growing. The vignettes I created back then remain. A couple of scenes in the book are now polished, fully-realized ideas that started back then.
Flash forward about ten years. I’m looking for my next novel, when I remember this concept. I start fleshing out the idea, but I’m distracted by flashy concepts and fun new ideas. I continue to struggle with the idea – because sometimes you do. Everything is hard now and again. Some stories come easy; some not at all.
The bones got organized, and life decided to get complicated. I started taking some online classes. Bailey and I bought a house. Then we got married. And through all this wonderment, writing took a back seat. I plinked around a little, I got some things written, but mostly, the author was sleeping.
I have a number of writing groups I belong to – or have belonged to. But while Threshold was still a dusty, shambling mess, a new group formed. We meet pretty regularly. It’s less a writing group and more a support group made of writers. What’s the difference? No competition for starters. We share in each other’s successes and frustrations. We don’t judge. We are there for each other. I’ve had good groups before, but this is an intimate group of honest friends – they’re helpful and even their physical presence and the sound of their typing was its own security. Threshold came together under this group’s support.
It wasn’t this group alone. Bailey has always been there, supporting me through the frustration and the threats and the whining (oh, how I can whine when the book won’t cooperate). My friends regularly asked about how it was coming along. People I met at shows chatted with me about the story, and were excited for it to happen.
Eventually, it did.
Next week, you’ll see for yourself.
But it has been a community effort, whether they knew they were a community rallied around me and a story, I don’t know, but the people in my life are amazing supporters. Thank you.
Threshold releases May 1, kindle and paperback. Preorder now.