Saying goodbye

Bittersweet isn’t a word that I’m a total stranger to, but I’m not sure I ever really plumbed its depths prior to the release of the finale of my Autumn Rain trilogy, THE MACHINERY OF LIGHT.  Two years ago, Bantam released the first book, THE MIRRORED HEAVENS, and the year before that my agent sold them the whole trilogy.  And everything before that. . . well, like a lot of writers I tend to see my life in terms of Before and Since I made it into print.  As Douglas Adams once said, “before The Hitchhiker’s Guide, I was still being born.”  My characters emerged out of that haze, as did the world of the early 22nd century.  When I began I naively assumed I’d be done within the next twenty-four months – it took me twice that time to even learn how to write, and I still remember that feeling of surprise when I started doing so–how suddenly my words were reaching a place they hadn’t gone before, allowing me to take my drafts to a new level, toggling endlessly between plot and character – writing and rewriting, doubling back upon myself, driving myself #$# crazy  There were times I thought I’d be working on THE MIRRORED HEAVENS forever.

But now it’s all over.  Not only is the first book two years in the rear-view mirror, but THE MACHINERY OF LIGHT is in stores today.  Making me realize that the work of the writer isn’t just creating.  It’s finding a way to walk away from what you’ve created.  The trilogy that I conceived of ten years ago came to fruition; my characters saw the light of the day, and made it outside of my head.  They did what they were meant to, but their very success forces me to say farewell to them.  Today is one of the proudest of my life, yet bittersweet’s the only word I know that even begins to capture it.

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There are 4 comments. Get the RSS feed for comments on this entry.

  1. 1. Elias McClellan

    Mr. Williams, Thank you for sharing your experience. My manuscript is with an agent and I’m trying not to think about it one way (hope) or another (despair).

    You provide an important lesson for those of us still aspiring to birth through ‘labor.’

  2. 2. Wolf Lahti

    “Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.”
    —Truman Capote

  3. 3. S.C. Butler

    The Capote quote may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you’re right. Walking away from something you’ve been working on for a couple of years (or, in my case, nine) can be hard.

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Author Information

David J. Williams

Descended from Australian convicts, David J. Williams nonetheless managed to be born in Hertfordshire, England, and subsequently moved to Washington D.C. just in time for Nixon’s impeachment. Graduating from Yale with a degree in history some time later, he narrowly escaped the life of a graduate student and ended up doing time in Corporate America, which drove him so crazy he started moonlighting on video games and (as he got even crazier) novels. The Autumn Rain trilogy sold to Bantam in the summer of 2007; the release of THE MACHINERY OF LIGHT completes the series. Visit site.

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