Just One Thing, Writing

A Story About the Story

On October 15, my alarm woke me up at 6:00am. I spent some time reading my Bible and talking to God, then rolled out of bed to get ready for the day. I worked from 8:00am until 5:00pm, met a friend for dinner, recorded a video, and watched the newest episode of This is Us.

All of that is pretty standard for a Tuesday. Except for one more thing: My second book released into the world.

October 15 will forever be a milestone day. Not just because it’s the day I became multi-published, but because it’s a day I wasn’t sure would come.

See, All of This released in July of 2015. Before that happened, I’d already outlined a sequel for it. But then grad school happened and a lot of other life things happened and there were many days I just wanted to quit. Not because I didn’t believe in the story or because I didn’t love the characters, but because it was just so difficult.

I wanted to tell a story that was even stronger than the first one. Readers had expectations of what they hoped would happen in a sequel. You all knew my writing style from the first book. I wanted to write something that exceeded all of those expectations. For me, that was even more pressure than launching a first book into the world. Plus, there are a thousand details that take place behind the scenes in publishing. Most of which we as readers never even hear about.
But the story stayed in my heart. The characters kept talking, insisting they had things to say. And God kept reminding me that He wasn’t done with my writing.

Over several months, I assembled a team: an editor, a designer, early readers. I worked through all those other behind-the-scenes things like ISBNs and LCCNs and copyright. And I prayed.

On July 4th, my designer sent the book cover to me. This was exactly four years from when a designer sent my first book cover to me. Crazy timing.

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On September 21, I returned to my hometown to sign books at a festival. While at my local bookstore, the owner and I discussed a book release party. Then we looked at the calendar…annd scheduled a party for 3 weeks later. The cool thing about it was that the party would happen four days before the book actually released. That meant that people who came to the party could take home a copy early.

The only thing was, at that point, the book hadn’t gone to print yet. We were still working through some technical details. So when I got home from the event, I quickly finished up details and ordered a proof copy. You guys, I did a lot of praying that the proof copy would turn out okay and that all the books would arrive on time because maybe it’s just me, but I’m thinking a book release party without any books would be a flop. DSC_0590.jpg

The books arrived, and we celebrated with a release party on October 12…Exactly 4 years and 2 days since the last book release party (Because of the whole moving-two-states-away and starting grad school thing, my last book release party happened a couple months after the book actually came out. 0/10 do not recommend doing all those things at once).

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Y’all, the party was a blast. We had apple cider and little book cookies and giveaways and a signing. I got to see people whom I hadn’t seen in years—including two professors from college who walked me through the creation of the first book.

It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but oh, so fun.

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Then I returned back to North Carolina and the book officially released that Tuesday.

As I’m drafting this post, I’m sitting on a plane heading west for a cousin’s wedding. It’s another full circle moment for me, because Sadie’s story began with a girl getting off a plane in a new place.

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There’s a verse I held onto during the editing stage of Just One Thing, when I felt like it could all fall apart at any minute:

“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.” -Proverbs 16:9

I held that verse as a reminder that, yeah, I have so many expectations and plans for my life, but it’s God who makes each step of my life happen. He’s the One who decides if and when I release a book.

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Sometimes it happens right after you graduate college in a crazy series of events. And sometimes it happens after you sense God telling you to take a break for a bit. Either way, it’s all in His hands.

And now, over a month after Just One Thing released, I can’t help but smile. I get to share this story with you, and that’s just the best ever.

Anna

P.S. I haven’t been very active on the blog lately, but I’m over on Instagram and Facebook all the time. I love mini-blogging on those platforms and keeping you all up to date. If we’re not friends over there, find me and say hi! :)

Book party photos courtesy of Ruth Anne Crews.

Just One Thing, Writing

COVER REVEAL: Just One Thing

It’s finally here! The cover for Just One Thing! 

Can I admit something to you? This book almost didn’t exist. For starters, I didn’t originally plan on writing a sequel to All of This…but then, before AoT was even published, my dear friend Em and I took a trip to Seattle. I outlined Just One Thing on the flight home.

That was five years ago.

All of This released in July 2015. In August 2015, I moved away from home to go to graduate school in North Carolina. Turns out, a master’s degree kinda eats up your free time, so I paused the new book.

In May 2018, I graduated with my MA, began a full-time job, and dusted the cobwebs off of the story. I tweaked the plot, strengthened the characters, and poured stuff I’d learned during grad school into the manuscript.

I also made sure it could stand alone as its own story. So although it’s technically a sequel, you don’t have to know All of This in order to step into Sadie’s world through Just One Thing.

Today, in July 2019, we’re weeks away from the release of Just One Thing. In fact, as I write this, the manuscript is with my designer, getting the pretty chapter headings and everything all in place. It’s almost here.

But for now, I’d like to show you the cover, designed by the amazing Roseanna White. I’ll also share the synopsis.

Please feel free to share about the book – that will help out a lot!

Thank you for reading, friends!

P.S. The most popular question I’ve gotten from readers since All of This released is: “Does Sadie stay in Pecan Creek or go back to Seattle?”

This’ll answer that question ;)

And now, allow me to introduce you to Just One Thing…

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Sadie Franklin wants to move on, but first she must return to everything she wants to forget. 

Senior year in Seattle is the perfect chance for a former party girl to start over, right? All she has to do is build a relationship with her detached father, make decent grades, and avoid her ex-friends. Oh, and convince everyone she really has changed. Easy peasy.

The first chance she gets, she wants to hop on the next flight back to Pecan Creek, Georgia. Although the tea there is sweet enough to give her cavities, at least the people love her and believe she has a purpose bigger than her painful past. 

Sadie meets a new friend looking for her own fresh start, who shows Sadie the value of true friendship and reminds her there’s always more to a person’s story than what’s on display.

But figuring out the next step is messy, and it’s hard to change a reputation. An after-school job, constant arguments with her dad, and an undefined relationship with the wonderfully annoying Georgia guy who won her heart only add to the crazy.

When tragedy collides with Sadie’s carefully re-built life, she learns that trusting in a God she can’t see is more difficult than she ever imagined. 

Is starting over worth the cost?