Yes, I have imaginary friends and this is why it’s okay…

I have always been the person that plays by the rules, even if I don’t always agree with them.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a pushover, but I’ve spent so many years doing the right thing, that it feels so good to finally do something selfish. Something, unexpected. I’ll get to that in a minute…

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. When I was in the fourth grade I won first place in a creative writing contest. My story, “How the sky created stars”, hung outside the principal’s office for a month and I beamed every time I walked by.

When I was in eighth grade I was the class valedictorian. The best part being I got to write a speech, which meant I could at 14 read my words to adults, and they had to listen. I still remember the poetic metaphors I threw in… Oh they were terrible. I shudder at what I spoke into the microphone that night. The point is, even then I wanted that speech to sparkle.

I began to have a love affair with words. All through college I wrote poetry. It was dark stuff, but then again, college can be a dark place. I worked at Barnes and Noble in my early twenties and drooled over the “New Authors” section… fantasizing that one day it would be me. When I was dating my husband I spoke the first words of being published to him. Of course he told me I could do it. I mean, that’s what your significant other says to you, especially when you’re twenty-two and in love. You whisper your hopes and dreams to each other, and finding that they support you only fuels your passion.

Seven years ago, I had enough dreaming. It was time to write my novel. That’s when it happened, the imaginary friends that started emerging and hanging out with me long after the rest of the house had fallen under the spell of sleep. I had created characters out of thin air, and what’s crazy is that I knew a tremendous amount of details about them. Stuff that would never even make it onto the page, but that I needed to know. Like how one of my characters was overweight growing up, or how another one couldn’t swim. How one character had an abusive father, or how yet another  had suffered through a miscarriage. These weren’t meant to be written down, but they helped me understand who these characters were and why they would or would not react a certain way in any situation.

So I started writing, really writing. Pouring-my-soul-onto-the-page-and-feeling-what-it-truly-meant-to-be-vulnerable kind of writing. I wrote safely, meaning, I held back on my swearing, kept the manuscript very PC and only alluded to sex. I couldn’t write the way “real” authors write because I wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t Anne Rice or Stephen King who had the ability to take risks. Nope. I had to play it safe.

Playing it safe sucks. Turns out, playing it safe makes for a really boring read. I had written two full length novels, and started seven more. They all had similar themes, but I couldn’t see it. I was too busy talking to the voices in my head, which if you are a writer is okay, not even something to question. They kept me company, and even flirted with the idea of changing a scene here or there. Of course I listened.

A few of my friends had read my work, and when I asked them if they had a favorite character it always surprised me that they chose the humans over my paranormal creatures. I distinctly remember a conversation I had with my best friend:

Friend: “I really like “A”. I can relate to him. I’m pulling for him.

Me: “But what about Lucas?”

Friend: “The devil? He’s alright.”

Me: “He’s my favorite.”

Friend: “Yeah, he would be.”

I couldn’t understand why she didn’t love him the way I did. Then it hit me. I didn’t give him a chance to speak. I kept him in the shadows, watching, waiting. He had a voice… a rather distinct voice, and he needed to be heard.

So now for the selfish part.

I wrote a story, just for me. I didn’t care what other people thought. I wrote the devil I always wanted to read. One with no moral compass. The type of disregard for society that could come across as appalling, and finally a lust for flesh that needed to be satiated. If it was lust that was his pleasure, normal human girls wouldn’t do. I needed to create a counter part that would soothe the beast. So I wrote Taming Darkness. I wrote without fear, or concern with what others thought. I wrote for me, because this character belonged to me.

When I stopped worrying what others would say or think (or that I was even capable of writing  an erotic scene), the book fell into place, and quite quickly too. This character became an extension of me. It became a way for me to dive deep into the dark side I always knew I had and relish in the fact that sometimes it’s okay to play with fire.

So, to all the writer’s out there who drive to work with their imaginary friends as the only passenger. To the one’s  who don’t actually shower alone, because they are too busy writing a scene and that shower stall suddenly is crowded with drama…  My advice is listen to them. Really listen, and don’t be afraid to take risks. Write the story that you want to read.

Be bold. Be daring. Be yourself.

The results may just be that #1 best seller 😉

Love & Light!

~Kat

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