What’s In A Book?

When my editor told me that his review of Eight Goodbyes would be delayed for as much as four weeks, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I’m really narrow minded when it comes to the writing process. I guess it’s because I have a full time job, my brain can only manage to split itself into two. I’m either managing a department or writing one single book.  So in between the edits for the next book, I decide to take a break.  Not that I don’t have any upcoming projects either. I’m co-writing, participating in an anthology and am plagued with a new idea that just won’t leave my head. And then there’s work, and changes happening there. Changes that may be quite life altering, this hobby may have to take a backseat for a while.

Anyway, back to my reading. In two weeks, I plowed through seven books. Through the other authors’ words, I tried to find the winning formula. Because they were all bestselling authors with a large number of fans and readers.  First, there is no winning formula. But there is a common thread. I don’t have to write about it, because I don’t review books for a living. Let me just say that readers want to be taken somewhere far away from their daily reality. These days, it involves a guy who has a ten pack and a dirty mouth. He can be rich, he can be from the wrong side of the tracks. But he must love you. He must love you through four hundred pages of conflict. And then you begin to see how much you love him too.

When I look at In This Life and every heart wrenching line I wrote, I feel foolish, really. Who does that much drama? How can you cry through a whole book, why are those words so sad and hopeless? Clearly that must have been the way I felt when I wrote it. I wanted to write about wrong time wrong place love, about the mistake we make when we strong-arm fate into following our wishes. I wanted to continue my quest to shine the light on fallibility, on imperfection, on redemption. I lived the demons and put them to rest through this book. I have no regrets. The most important thing I learned about writing for myself is that I’m only accountable to myself. My gains, my losses (I just did my tax return, and believe me, I am traumatized) are my own. My words provide the public with an insight into my thoughts and feelings. When you think about it, writers are terribly lucky to be able to have such an outlet. Even if you are criticized for your actions or for your words, it’s a victory when people are brave enough to own up to what they’ve gone through too. Isn’t that what I said in front of hundreds of people, on Philippine national TV, on CNN, in every other interview?

You’re not alone. Love is love. Feelings are feelings. Betrayal is betrayal, and pain subsides with the passage of time.

But things are so different now, I’m just not in that frame of mind anymore. I’m happy, content with my life, and no longer confused. Because I realized more than anything, that I have that guy. I’ve put him through hell for quite a while, and he stayed and prayed and made sure that I got it all out of my system.

And so, we move on to the next book. Just because it feels like the right time to do so. Eight Goodbyes will be that book for you. It will be the Christine Brae Happy Book. I can’t wait for you to read it.

As I work furiously on my edits, I hope you stick around for a while. I’m going through some major soul searching these days, so I should have some updates for you soon. In the meantime, you all know where to reach me. I’m hoping we have some exciting news to share between now and through the holidays.

2 Comments

  1. Kristy Petree

    I’m excited for a “Christine Brae happy book”! I’m a fan, but of course you already know that. But I also notice things that readers (friends, reviewers I follow, and even myself) find less enjoyable to read about …cheating, love triangles, and wishy-washy, indecisive characters. I think every book needs conflict of some kind–even fluffy books have *some* bit of conflict otherwise there really isn’t a story. Too much drama and angst kind of breaks our spirit, though. I can read it, but I have to be in a good frame of mind and I usually have to chase it with some mindless fluff to take the edge off. Of course, everyone is different. I’m not a fan of alphas, dirty talk and so-forth, but I know those books are popular. I think we all like the conflicts settled in a reasonable time frame and, in the end, we hope for all the “good” characters to be happy or at least hopeful.

    I constantly check the NYT bestseller lists, but I’m often baffled by some of the books that make it there. Many of the worst books I’ve ever read have been on that list. Many authors who consistently put out books that seem to have skipped editing make it to that list with every new release (wish I could name some names here 😉 ). And I think “maybe it’s just me”, but it isn’t, because other people are writing the same unfavorable reviews that I am compelled to write. I guess it takes a mastermind and lot of hype to get the level of sales to sell a horribly-written book. It doesn’t matter if people don’t like the book once they buy it; it just seems to matter that they bought it to begin with.

    Anyway, good luck and I look forward to Eight Goodbyes! 🙂

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