Rebecca Harwell blogs:
Holding a copy of Shadow of the Phoenix in hand for the first time was a bittersweet experience.
Of course, it was thrilling. Here was a book I had written, the final volume of the Storm’s Quarry series, released out into the world. Shadow of the Phoenix was written during a crazy time in my life: finishing grad school, moving to Chicago, starting a new job. To hold the finished product meant a lot to me.
With the hectic nature of the past couple of years, writing this book was a comfort in a lot of ways. The world of Storm’s Quarry was familiar to me, and its towering marble walls felt a lot more like home than the streets of Chicago (this has since changed, and I’ve fallen in love with my new city). Which brings me to the bitter part of bittersweet: the story had come to an end.
I’d spent the last five years of my life writing Nadya’s story. As my critique partner can attest to, the original draft of The Iron Phoenix bears little resemblance to the final product. The world grew larger, the plot branched out further, and my characters developed paths of their own (or, in Shay’s case, they barged into the story and demanded to be part of it). As the story expanded, it grew into a larger part of my life.
There’s plenty of helpful articles and blog posts on how to start a book, how to draft it, how to revise it. No one ever talks about how to let a book go, how to say good-bye to the characters you’ve grown so close to over the months and years (decades, even, for some writers) you spent crafting their tale. I’ve got no advice on the subject either. Moving onto another project right away felt wrong, like I hadn’t given myself enough time and space. It almost seemed inappropriate, as if it were due a mourning period. As a reader, I dive into the next series, the next volume, occasionally spending a few days in contemplation over what I’ve consumed, but never for any extended length of time. I hope my readers will do the same after they finish Shadow of the Phoenix. There are simply too many books out there to read to dwell for too long on any single one.
And as a writer? Time is all I can say. Soon enough, a new idea appeared and demanded my attention. The story of the Iron Phoenix has come to an end, and there are many more stories to write.