It took seven years from the initial idea and rough draft, a few rounds of developmental edits, a set of line edits, and proofing to FINALLY get this story to the finish line! I am so thrilled that AFRD will get to be put in readers hands after all this time.
I had initial wrote Luke and Ollie for a prompt, but felt that the constraints of the guidelines (under 35,000 words and a few others) didn't do the story justice. It felt like a story that desperately wanted to breathe and break out of its confines. I also had the added challenge of being an Aussie trying to write a story set in the USA. Ow! It got put aside for other projects that needed my focus once I decided the story deserved better.
I knew it needed some rework and a chance to percolate. Some of the ideas needed shelved while I needed to figure out what I wanted for my characters and the world. I was then going to submit it to a specific book line and started tweaking it for that, however, that idea also fell through.
Work had also started taking all of my hours, leaving me very drained and with little energy and motivation to write. Being able to create when I had no time is a hard slog.
Then everything finally came together. I changed jobs, finally got more time to myself, those pesky developmental edits finally came through, and then it was time to write. The story deals with a lot of different issues, and one of those is mental health. I wanted to make sure I got it right because it's such a sensitive issue. Mental health issues are different for different people, and each individual deals with trauma differently. I wanted to be able to have a conversation around that topic within the mystery of the story.
Hopefully you all will see that all the careful effort has paid off.
Another thing to note is that I talked with the publisher (my MCB!) and we have decided to do an initial release through Kindle Unlimited for 3 months before releasing the book wide. It has been a couple years since my last release and I worry that readers have forgotten about me. To give the story a little push, we have decided KU is the best way to go. But never fear! Releases at all the usual places will happen, just 3 months from February 28th.
Toni Griffin lives in Darwin, the smallest of Australia's capital cities. Born