One question I always get asked is, “What is your favorite book that you’ve written?”
When I get asked that, I think back to a famous author’s book signing. Someone asked her that very question and, without missing a beat, she said, “The one I’m currently promoting.” From a marketing standpoint, that made sense, but it’s not an honest answer. I think we all have favorites, but we’re hesitant about sharing that information for fear of losing sales on the newest book we’re trying to sell.
I don’t have to think hard to come up with an answer. While I should be more marketing-savvy and promote my current new book, I tend to respond with a more honest answer: my first published book Lightning Strikes.
Like many other authors, I wrote several “practice books” before writing one that was good enough to be published. Lighting Strikes might have been my first published book, but it was actually the sixth book I wrote. The others still sit in boxes on my bookshelf, paying homage to my early learning curve.
When I wrote Lightning Strikes, my life was far different than it is now. I hadn’t pigeon-holed myself as a paranormal writer. I was able to write about whatever I chose to tackle. In this case, I took a potentially real-life situation and wrapped it around the concept of how I would have handled it at the tender age of sixteen. I still think about it frequently. What would I do if the world suddenly came to a grinding halt?
In the case of Lightning Strikes, a bio-engineered virus is accidentally released into the world, killing 90% of the population within weeks. A group of radical extremists jump on the opportunity and attempt to gain control of the world, going door-to-door with assault rifles and gas masks. This would be a horrible situation for any of us to survive, but imagine going through it when you were only sixteen years-old and had a young autistic sister you need to protect. The story follows Ember’s journey as she deals with the hardships and terror, while subsequently enduring the reality of being sixteen.
Lightning Strikes gave me the opportunity to present a better version of myself. Like many other authors, I usually dig deep into my own past to create my characters. Ember is the closest thing to myself that I’ve ever written. I just removed some of the pimples and awkwardness of my sixteen year-old self and gave her more courage and fortitude than I possessed at that age. I envisioned a world where all the grown-ups were gone and my own survival depended on my own decisions. Would I curl up and hide or would I fight back? And how would this change me as a person?
Sadly, the book never took off. It got outstanding reader reviews. It has 63 reviews and maintains a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. Many of the people who read it wrote to me, telling me how much they loved it. Ember felt real to them, like someone they knew or wanted to know. It just got lost in the influx of post-apocalyptic novels and never found its own footing.
In my sales reports, I can see when a book is sold, but I don’t have information regarding who it was sold to. I just see the sale. Whenever I sell a copy of Lightning Strikes, I become fixated on my reporting for the next few days, waiting to see if they also buy book two in the trilogy, Ember Rain. This week, I was elated to see someone buy all three books in a one week period. To me, this meant that someone became as entranced with this storyline as I was when I wrote it. One sale of this book means more to me than hundreds of sales on any of my other books. Is it because Lightning Strikes was my first-born book child? Maybe, but I think it goes deeper than that. Lightning Strikes contains more of my soul than any other book I’ve written.
So, if you ask me which one of my books that I like the most, I’ll probably be honest with you. Give it a shot. It’s only $2.99 on Amazon.com and will keep you mesmerized for 400 nail-biting, heart-tugging pages. Click HERE to learn more.