Ophelia Prophecy

My blog tour for THE OPHELIA PROPHECY is winding down now, so as you can imagine, this is like my zillionth post. I really do strive in each and every one to provide original content — if I’m writing on a topic I’ve written on before, I do my best to come up with a fresh angle. Because let’s face it — if I don’t, you and I will both be snoring two paragraphs in.

So what I’d like to do for Pauline’s “Why She Wrote” feature is spend just a couple of minutes answering that question very directly, and then go off on a bit of a tangent about why this book was particularly challenging for me.

THE OPHELIA PROPHECY was my second science fiction romance release for Tor Books (following my debut, GHOST PLANET). It was a second-pitch book, as in they had already decided to buy GHOST PLANET, and we wanted to pitch another story idea for a two-book contract.

Ghost PlanetI had already written the first chapter of OPHELIA, which was inspired partly by the title itself (I reverse engineer most of my stories) and partly by a dream I had about two praying mantises dueling with staffs. So it was a matter of pulling together the story elements and writing a synopsis (shudder-worthy for any writer, but did I mention I’m a pantser?). Lucky for me my editor had faith, and we sold it on that first chapter plus a one-page synopsis.

My editor had faith, but I was intimidated. I had pitched a big story. Lots of twists and turns, political intrigue, multiple plot layers, very science-y bits, and worst of all, BUGS. The hero and his people are transgenic organisms, part human and part praying mantis. It bears repeating: I voluntarily contracted to write a story in which I would have to persuade romance readers to mix with bug people. (Never mind the fact bugs totally creep ME out.)

This book took me two years to write. That was partly due to all the stuff I just mentioned. Also partly due to the fact I was finalizing GHOST PLANET for publication during the same time period. But the bulk of it was … well … life did what it does. It got messy — like bits-stuck-to-the-walls-and-ceilings messy.

My daughter was not yet in school, and her dad and I split up after more than 10 years together. I’d had long-term relationships end before, but as some folks reading this will know, it’s different when you have kids. Partly because you’re so worried about how they’ll be affected, and partly because if your own parents divorced, having a kid involved in your divorce dredges all that stuff up again.

For about a year the disruption was mostly logistical — moving, figuring out custody schedules, filing court documents. And also there was the adjustment to life on my own again (admittedly parts of that were healing, revitalizing, and plain old fun).

But some 14 months in, it all came down on me like a cargo hold full of tribbles —spiky ones with teeth. I’d experienced bouts of depression before, and they had intensified after the birth of my daughter. PPD is serious and scary — I remember walking down the street one day thinking everyone would be better off (me included) if a bus ran me down. Yet when my daughter’s doctor asked me if I’d experienced any depression, I said, “Only a little.”

Looking back, I think the full course of the post-separation depression was more than a year, though I did everything I could to suppress it and only really became aware in the final 6 months — the worst stretch of it. During that year I was both finalizing GHOST PLANET and working on OPHELIA. The editing and proofing wasn’t so bad, but writing a romance novel when your marriage has just fallen apart? Especially one that requires lots of research, and features a couple that’s almost fatally star-crossed? Yeah. Not so much.

One personality trait that has served me well is determination. I determined that this thing was not going to get me. I embarked on a mission of self-improvement that included self-help books, Buddhist temples, yoga, energy healing, and even tarot readings. That may sound desperate, and desperate I was, but every bit of it contributed to digging me out of that hole. I learned that I was clinging to pain from my past because I’d really never allowed myself to feel it. I learned that I’d been living fearfully, blocking my own path to happiness. In short, I’d lost the thread of who I really was under the pile of fear and emotional baggage.

And part of “who I really was” was a writer. That had been true when I was 6 years old, and it was still true that grim day, 6 months before the lifting of my depression at age 40ish. The process of writing that book was p-a-i-n-f-u-l. And it was cathartic, and it was necessary. That damn book haunted me — the fear of both writing it and not writing it. But that damn book, along with my friends and my precious daughter’s hugs, kept me going on the worst days. And by the time I sat down to write the last 100 pages, the fog had lifted.

Thanks to all the psychology books I read, I know that chances are the big D will happen again someday. But I’m an optimist, and I just have this hunch it won’t. Never to that extreme, anyway. I have tools now. I know things about myself I didn’t know then. And because I’m a writer, I’ll always have the next damn book.

Ophelia ProphecyAbout The Ophelia Prophecy:

Our world is no longer our own.
We engineered a race of superior fighters–the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us.
In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Eking out our existence. Clinging to the past.
Some of us intend to do more than survive.

Asha and Pax—strangers and enemies—find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there.

Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource—information—viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society.

Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check.

But neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie.

With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other’s secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past.

The Ophelia Prophecy is the thrilling new SF romance from Sharon Lynn Fisher, author of Ghost Planet

Sharon Lynn Fisher Author Photo (2)A Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist and a three-time RWA Golden Heart Award finalist, SHARON LYNN FISHER lives in the Pacific Northwest. She writes books for the geeky at heart—sci-fi flavored stories full of adventure and romance—and battles writerly angst with baked goods, Irish tea, and champagne. Her works include Ghost Planet (2012), The Ophelia Prophecy (2014), and Echo 8 (2014). You can visit her online at SharonLynnFisher.com.

I’d like to thank Sharon for stopping by today to share her story. I was fortunate enough to win a copy of The Ophelia Prophecy at one of Sharon’s blog stops and it is my reward for finishing my novel. It’s GREAT incentive and I can’t wait to dive in.

You can also find Sharon over at the Brenda Novak Online Auction for Diabetes Research. I hope you’ll pop over and check out her auction item and all the great items listed there.

Have you or a loved one suffered from depression? I know I have and wow. So yeah, you know comments help AND they are entered into my monthly drawing for an AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). I announce the winner in my first blog post of the new month.

Perilously yours,

Pauline

Welcome to blog post #395! Five more posts until the party for #400! Here’s a custom tweet about the auction that I hope you’ll consider sharing:

“Love the romance of sci-fi? See the cool offerings from the @SFRBrigade in the Novak Auction for Diabetes Research! http://bit.ly/1jgNHZl”

Why Sharon Lynn Fisher Wrote THE OPHELIA PROPHECY

11 thoughts on “Why Sharon Lynn Fisher Wrote THE OPHELIA PROPHECY

  • May 8, 2014 at 9:48 pm
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    Great post. Pauline. What a brilliant idea to ask writers WHY they write their books!

    Sharon, I know you went through a lot to get this novel written, but I think the story is much more deeply layered because of your experiences.

    And, of course, I can’t WAIT until Echo 8 comes out!
    Laurie A. Green recently posted…Tales from the SFR Brigade AnthologyMy Profile

    • May 8, 2014 at 10:18 pm
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      thanks for stopping by! Like you, I’m glad Sharon kept writing and visited my blog. 🙂

    • May 9, 2014 at 4:12 pm
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      Wow, thank YOU so much for your very kind words, and also for the wonderful support you’ve given my work.

      I found depression embarrassing – made me feel weak – but eventually I realized the worst thing we can do is keep quiet about it. In addition to the fact everyone needs help sometimes, when I was in the worst of it, I found it comforting to read about others’ experiences.
      Sharon recently posted…A HEART FOR COPPER: A steampunk fairy taleMy Profile

  • May 8, 2014 at 11:26 am
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    “Have you or a loved one suffered from depression?”

    I do. I have since I was a kid, along with having ADHD. When I was a kid even my Mom who was a teacher hadn’t heard of ADHD – we were just “under achievers”. When the general public started to hear more about ADHD it was always boys that were spoken about. At first they didn’t realize girls had it because the symptoms are somewhat different. Our hyperactivity is more internal, mental and emotional, instead of physical like the boys. Also, for a long time they thought kids grew out of it while now they know that usually you don’t and now it is much easier to find information and help for adult ADHD.

    I’m turning 60 this year. Three years ago I finally went to an ADHD expert to see if that really was what I have – and yep – it is. At this point I don’t care to take meds for it and haven’t. Not only that but ADHD symptoms make doing a lot of the stuff needed for battling depression difficult, so I’ve never managed to pull out of the depression well either. For instance, I would have a very difficult time putting all the mental and emotional effort into doing the self improvement Sharon talks about AND writing a book. Part of why I’ve never made it through any self improvement system is that it takes so much focus that I can’t do much of anything else at the same time – and life just doesn’t work that way. The ADHD also makes sticking to a self imposed schedule and setting self imposed priorities extremely difficult.
    I’m an author whose ADHD and depression have made it difficult to finish my book, but like Sharon, my determination made the difference and the book is currently under consideration by a publisher – and I’m starting on the next book in what will be a series of cozy mysteries.

    Sharon & Pauline, I’m pullin’ for ya! 🙂

    • May 8, 2014 at 11:29 am
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      thanks so much for sharing your story, Pearl. Wow, you have climbed some mountains! Congrats on your achievement! That is awesome! I know it helped me a lot, finishing that first book. I knew I could do it. 🙂

      • May 8, 2014 at 3:17 pm
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        Thanks so much for sharing your story, Pearl. And congratulations on completing your book and receiving a publisher request, that is HUGE!

        You are right about the time commitment it takes for self improvement (although somewhere along my road I realized it’s actually more about “self care and nurturing”). I was unemployed at the time (except for the book contract), and that made it much easier to make time and space for the reading and activities. And during the worst of it, I was not writing at all — that’s without having ADHD on top of it, so my heart goes out to you. You must be very tough!

        Thank you again for dropping by, and keep writing! 🙂

        • May 8, 2014 at 8:25 pm
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          I guess I’m tougher than I think I am. My husband and daughter give me more credit than I usually give myself.

          Thank you for this great post, Sharon and you keep writing too. 🙂

          Hugs!
          Pearl R. Meaker recently posted…Tick-Tock, Tick-TockMy Profile

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