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A little luck. A little skill. A big gamble…

I am extremely late on this… (Could be the INFP. :))

Anyways, I published a novel recently in October and I wanted to tell you all about it.

The Basics

It’s called North and it’s about 19-year-old Jayne, who robs her employer and goes on the run. Along her journey she steals a guy’s car and he becomes her road buddy (his name is Jack), she plays a lot of poker, hangs out on the beach and, oh yes, is being chased by a cop who has been out to get her for a long time (this is Officer Savage, or just Savage for short, and she has a story all her own).

North is a story about being out on the road and having adventures but also about family, home and running away. Jayne has a lot she’d like to leave behind, but ultimately must decide if running will lead her where she wants to go.

North is available in ebook and paperback at many different retailers. Here’s a link that will link to many of the places where you can get it as an ebook ($4.99 regular price):

North (ebook)

If you’re looking for a paperback ($14.99 regular price), here are some places you can find it (Note: If you buy the paperback from Amazon, you can get the ebook for free.):

North (paperback) on Amazon

North (paperback) on Barnes & Noble.com

North (paperback) on The Book Depository

And if you’re not ready to read it yet, but want to put it on your “Want-To-Read” shelf on Goodreads, here’s that link:

North on Goodreads

Okay, so now that I’ve gotten all the most basic information out of the way, I can talk a little bit about the making of North, so if you’re interested in that sort of stuff, read on!

Long Commutes Are Great For Story Ideas

Jayne first appeared to me while I was in my car, which is extremely appropriate for a character who goes on a long road trip, but the truth is that I get a lot of story ideas in the car, whether they’re about road trips or not.

I had a pretty long commute to work for almost ten years (at least an hour each way) so there were lots of chances for fictional characters to introduce themselves to me. 🙂

I met Jayne probably five or six years ago, and she sort of swam around my head for a couple of years before I actually sat down to write her story.

She’d visit me on my commutes and show me what she was up to, and generally when Jayne appeared another person appeared too. Someone who was out to get her. Someone who was chasing her while she ran.

This person turned into Savage, and in my mind Savage was practically a machine–hard, cold, and completely obsessed with Jayne. I’m happy to say that as I actually wrote the story, Savage softened quite a bit and turned into an actual human being, although I would still say she’s obsessed with Jayne.

So that’s how this all got started–in the car. And like I said it was probably a couple of years–at least a year and a half–before I actually got Jayne and her story onto paper (or the screen, really).

My Journey With Jayne

I decided to write North (By the way, I think that was always the title. I don’t remember having a working title other than North.) during NaNoWriMo 2013. I hadn’t participated since 2009 and I was excited to try again.

I think I got about 28,000 words that November (North is about 66,000), so, not enough to “win” but a great start. And I finished it early in 2014, maybe in March or so, I don’t quite remember.

This was the first novel I had written completely without an outline, although I certianly had some ideas in my head, they just weren’t committed to paper. I thought that NaNoWriMo would be the perfect time to experiment with this and I got excited, and a little scared, and decided to try it.

So as Jayne and Jack meander their way up North, I meandered along with them. Asking myself only what would happen next with these characters and essentially taking my own journey along with them as they went about their road trip. And let me tell you, I had as much fun as they did.

I don’t remember getting stuck for too long in any one place. If anything I’d want to move things along and the characters would want to take their sweet time. The beach chapters were like that, which certainly makes sense, because I’d want to hang around the beach awhile too.

Anyways, at a certain point I had written the last word and I put North away for awhile, I just didn’t know at the time how long that “while” would be.

Guns Are Very Loud When You Shoot Them Indoors

I moved on to working on other stuff. I started a vampire novel, did some book covers, published a few short stories, etc, etc and then found myself wanting to return to North in late summer. I decided to try out the first few chapters with my local writing group to see what they thought.

I got some good feedback but one piece in particular I paid attention to. One member pointed out to me that in chapter 3 (I think) when Jayne shoots the gun inside her house, that the noise would be deafeningly loud.

I had no experience with guns and was glad for the information to increase the accuracy (I mean, it is fiction, but still). This member and I got to talking about some other stuff and decided to trade novels for a beta read and we finished up around six months later.

The gun information was still probably the most important I got and I always enjoy when I meet someone who can make my stories a little more accurate. That’s one thing my local writing group is great for–meeting other writers who have some kind of expertise that you don’t. There have been many times when someone has submitted something to the group and gotten some advice on a piece of their story that could be more accurate, which is really helpful.

Coming Home (or to Publication)

The next year and a half, I worked partly on North and partly on all the other things that indie authors do. I’m not totally sure why I was so slow in getting this published but there were lots of other things to do that would take priority at any given moment and I knew I’d get it up there eventually.

In late Summer 2016 I started the publication process with North including designing the cover. Once I got started it actually came together pretty fast and early in October it was available for purchase.

I have a tendency to spend my time in an intuitive way, meaning I use my intuition to go from one activity to the next or to tell me what my priorities are at any given time.

North should have been ready to go sometime in 2014, maybe early 2015, but for whatever reason the adventure didn’t begin until late in 2016. Maybe there’s some reason for that, I don’t know, but I do know that taking a journey ultimately means that you don’t control the journey. Things come at you from the side, something else takes your attention, maybe you spend some time meandering, but in any case, you eventually arrive at the end.

The end of the journey for me with North is, of course, the beginning of the journey for the reader with North. So we all begin at the end, or end at the beginning. Or something.

North (ebook)

North (paperback) on Amazon

North (paperback) on Barnes & Noble.com

North (paperback) on The Book Depository

North on Goodreads

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6 Comments

  1. suz suz

    we loved ‘north’!
    also loved that it started as a Nanowrimo. i did one of those, and my computer died and it was lost.
    that was a very good thing.
    🙂 khaire
    suz

  2. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Suz! Thanks. Too bad about that NaNo novel… (although sounds like you’re not too disappointed)

  3. suz suz

    i was fairly crushed (awful as it was, it probably had some ideas in it that could have been recycled) but it was truly, embarrassingly ghastly.
    😀 khaire
    suz

  4. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Suz – I also have a NaNo novel that will never see the light of day. From 2009, first one I ever wrote. I’ve decided that one is only for practice…

  5. Tommy Tommy

    Hi Amanda
    I stumbled across your site, when i did a search on “how to fight back at the universe”. I’m an INFP too and does a little dabbeling in writing too. I have a 3 hour drive every day to and from work and i recognize what you write about the characters introducing themselves on long rides in the car.
    For me, its the story that reveals itself along with the characters. Its like theyve found me and want me to tell their stories for them. Theyre sort of like ghosts thats wants to be recognized as living being, though theyre “only” in my mind.. Sounds like someone ripe for a mental institution, beut i know theyre “only” aspects of my mind and the world i live in.
    Unfortunately i have something holding me back, im not ready yet to tell their stories, yet, thats why i searched for what i did. I dont know whats holding me back -it isnt fear.

    I guess its the universe thats taunting me to show what im made of 🙂

    Thanks for reading my rant, i think there is a lot of us out there.

  6. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Tommy – Interesting search phrase. 😉 And even more interesting that it brought you to my blog! Good luck with your writing and enjoy all those visits with your characters!

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