A few weeks ago I finished writing my first novella. It's a weird thing to say like it's an accomplishment, considering that last year, I published four novels, and long ones too. Bad Idea and all of the books in the Spitfire Series are well over one hundred and twenty-thousand words, which is publishing speak for LONG AF. At least in romance. I'm no Diana Gabaldon (I read once that Outlander clocked in at around three hundred thousand words!), but considering that most romance books range between sixty-five to seventy-five thousand...yeah. I write tomes.
So it's a paradigm shift for me to write something smaller. I had to be more disciplined with my story-telling. During the writing process, I'll often veer off into tangents, following one or more characters sub-story or background like I'm diving down Alice's rabbit hole. And for the most part, I think that tendency adds depth to my stories. But it wasn't going to work for something designed to be a taste.
Broken Arrow started out as a character exercise. When I was in college, majoring in the most useless degree possible (according to my parents), English and Creative Writing, we would frequently do writing exercises on characters, setting, etc. to establish depth before even starting a larger piece. Weirdly, the fact that Bad Idea has a lot more autobiographical elements than my other books (although everything I write pulls a fair amount from places and experiences I have lived) actually required MORE in the way of character development just so I could separate the fictional characters I was writing from the people who inspired them.
Nico is not real. I'll say that again before you get excited about the autobiographical elements. Nico is not real. He is not real because I took the time to figure out his backstory in this way, thus making him a construct in my head, and nothing more. Because I can't really write good fiction about things that actually happened––it feels like a trap. Nothing in Broken Arrow actually happened. The entire novella is one-hundred-percent fictitious, and also one-hundred-percent necessary to developing a character that so many people seem to love.
I mean, really? Who wouldn't love that?
As a gift to you all, Broken Arrow is available for pre-order now, but will also be available here for FREE download as of January 17th. Nico might not be real, but you guys sure are. And I love you for it.