Six years ago, I had an idea just before the Valley Home Educator’s Convention in Modesto, California. A friend of mine and I went every year (back before she up and moved on me. Hmph.) My idea? Take some of the odd things I’d seen in my lifetime and explore them in a specific setting. What would happen if someone was socially isolated from society but still given a very rich and loving home? That idea became what I affectionately called a “Blog Opera.” I wrote episodes daily, weekly, sometimes monthly. Other projects crowded it out at times, but inevitably I came back to “Willow.”
From the beginning, Willow has always had a strong (if small at that time) fan base. On a private message board, we even have a forum we called “Woupies” (Willow Groupies). We did it because conversations about her and her story were taking over the main forum on the board. About that time, people began asking when it would be in print. I had no idea. You see, I put the book up, in its rawest form, online as I wrote it. There were “head jumps” as I explored each person’s point of view at any given moment. Fun to write, and for me to read, but many people find it confusing. There were punctuation and consistency errors everywhere. To release it in print (or to the general public) would be a task so daunting I didn’t want to think about it.
Enter the publicist who has taken over my life (and I love dearly in spite of it!). One of the first things Ashley said was, “We’re going to release Willow, in installments as you wrote it, and then into collections. People are going to love Willow.”
I said, “Yes ma’am” and got to work. After all, I was under direct orders to do whatever Ashley said from the almost highest authority. No, God didn’t talk to me. I got it from my mother. You just do what Mom says. You just do. In that sense, she’s a little like “Mother.”
I began the daunting task of editing each “episode” (which consists of 6-10 chapters and approximately 20-25K words). Essentially, every week, I rewrite the entire text of that episode. It is such hard work. I have old dear friends and new dear friends who help me proofread every single chapter. My editor, although in the US on furlough, worked to help us finish.
2016 Update: Wow… those were fun times–stressful, but fun! WOOT!