Several years ago, I wrote a book called "White Lines" - the story of a young girl's battle with crack addiction and the unlikely love that develops between her and a drug dealer. It was my attempt at showing the drug game from the perspective of both the addict and the pusher, to reveal the way that all involved are affected, for better or worse.
Of all the books, I've written THIS ONE is the story I have felt the most connected to. The characters became real people to me. Jada was my flawed and troubled "friend in my head" and Born was the thugged-out and sexy guy that girls from the hood all fell in love with. The characters Sunny and Dorian, Jamari, Edna, Miss Ingrid (and even Shante and Mr. Charlie) provided my overactive imagination with story after story woven into the fabric of Jada and Born's lives. It was nearly impossible for me to tear myself away from the story, almost sad when I ended the book. I "missed" the characters after the last sentence was written.
But, NOW, I am hard at work on the third and final book in the "White Lines" saga. The characters may appear from time to time in future books. But THIS will be the last one completely centered around the crew we've all come to know and love. And, BOY, am I loving the way this one is developing.
Every writer's process is different. We each have a different method of creating. For me, the fun of writing a story is the "what will happen next?" aspect. While some authors outline their story at the beginning, knowing what will happen at the beginning, middle and end, for me the best part of the adventure of writing is letting the story take its own time unfolding. Each character's reaction to each situation is a surprise for me as I pen the tale. (Sounds crazy, right? I know that I'm the one who's writing it. But in my mind, the characters' actions are theirs alone, determined by who they are and what they would really do in the given circumstances.) So as I sit down night after night (my favorite time to write) in front of my computer, or as I sit on the subway, in the park, or the Staten Island Ferry with my favorite pen and my marble notebook (I'm so old school! :), I am always excited to "find out" what will happen next. It's truly a thrill!
But this time, the thrill is bittersweet. Knowing that this is the last chance at redemption, forgiveness, sobriety, and love for these "people" has me both excited and sad. Those who are familiar with my writing know that I don't believe in fake happy endings that aren't realistic. I don't like to insult my readers' intelligence that way. So, as the saga unfolds, I wonder who will have found peace, who will continue to wrestle with their demons, who will give up, who will persevere by the end of the novel. It is the most exciting story I have ever written.
Those of you who didn't appreciate the cliffhanger at the end of WL2 will love the closure part three brings. Get ready for some incredible highs (pun intended) and some devastating lows. And don't bother asking "when will it be done?" because I never know the story is complete until I know...feel me? But, trust that when this one finally gets completed, sent to the publisher, and finds its way to your bookshelf, it will be as bittersweet, emotional, hilarious, scandalous, romantic, devastating and juicy as it is for me.
So, please be patient with me. I promise it will be worth the wait.
(P.S. I have received all of your threats and warnings via Facebook, Twitter, and email that if I "kill off" Born, I will be stalked and attacked. LOL Duly noted! XOXO)