Writing my debut novel, The Line, was a gruelling yet empowering experience.

I had a rough fifteen years battling high-functioning depression and agoraphobia. On harder days, I would wake up in the midst of a panic attack and spend hours sobbing in the fetal position. The confusion and despair swallowed my life, and writing was my only escape.

When I finally admitted to ‘not being okay’, people encouraged me to keep tapping away at the keyboard. It kept the darkest thoughts from ruling every waking moment and offered sanctuary from my chaotic inner world.

One morning, I awoke from an intense dream. I described a small portion to my husband, amazed at the level of detail I remembered, then said “you know what, I’ll write it down.”

Nine months later, I had the first draft of The Line.

That was only the beginning of becoming a new author. Turns out, a first draft is only one step in the process. The next part was finding readers, chasing down helpful criticism and rewriting the book five times. The Line takes place in an isolated city on a desert planet. Broken into sectors, the City is a patchwork of distinct and immersive cultures. Each rewrite added new layers to their atmosphere. And though motivations never changed, character timelines shifted, which tightened the story and built tension.

But it was the main character who was the most difficult and rewarding challenge. Daryl has an enticing and complicated backstory. Reworking the book enhanced the criminal’s physical, emotional and psychological experience of the City. As a result, the sectors and other characters were also enriched. I dug even deeper, drawing from my own experiences with mental illness. Daryl makes upsetting choices—they had to be believable.

After working so hard for fifteen years, it’s a thrill to see my book in the hands of readers.

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