Friday, March 21, 2014

Unreasonable Acts


Sometimes a story flows onto the page so smoothly a writer feels like they're receiving dictation, straight from heaven.
     The opposite also happens.
     The Hell of a writer's own making, this version begins with a lot of pounding on the keyboard, hitting Erase, pounding some more, and then, some eight hours later, walking away from the computer vowing to never-ever-ever write another word.
    The following day (because all working writers have self-inflicted amnesia), the process begins all over again. Only now it's even more horrible. Like some trip to the dentist where every tooth gets a root canal.
     I've had two novels give me serious trouble, beginning on Page One all the way to The End. It was as if the stories were simultaneously daring me and trying to assassinate me.
      Although written years apart, these two books bear some similarities.
     Most crucially, they're both adored by readers.
     The Clouds Roll Away, for instance, was named by Booklist a Top Ten read of the year. But writing that book made me realize why Hemingway put that bullet into his head. Not. Joking. When I finally turned in the manuscript, the editor sent back some suggestions. Five pages of "suggestions." Single-spaced. Here, let share with you one exact sentence: "I don't like anything about this book."
     She gave me three weeks to fix it.
    And I did.
    Because the story was begging me to tell it.
    My latest release, Stone and Spark, hit me with another gruesome writing experience. I nearly quit but for two things: a nurturing editor and, like Clouds, a story that pulled me to the computer.
     My second son "died"while being born. Twice, in fact. Thirteen years later, his neck still carries the red marks left by the umbilical cord that tried to strangle him. That kid fought his way to get here, and came out howling.
     Now he's got the spunk of ten warriors. If you tell him something can't done, it'll get done--his way.  I love that about him. I admire his spirit.
     We're human. We always hope things will go easily. But they rarely do. I'm even certain thing aren't supposed to be easy. Especially the most important things.
      If right now you feel like giving up--abandoning some project, a business, a book, a person, a new workout, a new idea--don't.
       Keep going.
      And yes, I do realize how unreasonable it all is.
      That's the point.
      "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world," wrote George Bernard Shaw."The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
      Which brings me Reason #6 for writing The Clouds Roll Away:
      It was totally and completely unreasonable.

For a very limited time, Amazon's offering The Book That Almost Killed Me--otherwise known as The Clouds Roll Away--for just $2.99. 
   It won't last long.
   So steal my book. Please.


  1. Sibella, thank you for writing this blog. That's why your books are so powerful: your characters are all fighting difficult battles, both within and without. Regardless of the increasing forces against them, they push forward, get up when they collapse, keep going, keep trying, never quit--even if they think it will kill them. Their struggles resonate with our weary hearts and motivate us to get up & keep pushing forward: it's SO worth it in the end. Thank you for being our example. :-)

    1. Lora, you're an example yourself. Thanks for always seeing grace amid the battle. So grateful for you, your words and your wise perspective. What's that phrase? "Fight like a girl." :-)

  2. I am reading the Raleigh Harmon series and am loving it. I read The Mountains Bow Down earlier this week and started right away on The Stars Shine Bright. I'm wondering if your latest book, Stone & Spark, will be released in book form (not e-reader.)
    Thanks, Leigh Penner (

    1. Leigh, so glad you found the Raleigh books. Thanks for letting me know. Stone and Spark will be out in book form later this week or next. Thanks again for writing.

  3. Great I will look for it again soon. Thanks so much!

  4. While at home helping take care of my mom after a car accident, I was organizing her "book" room and came across one of your books. I began reading it when she slept, and I am very grateful that I found it. What an enjoyable, delicious book. Thank you for writing.

  5. Julie, I am so sorry to hear about your mom. How much it must comfort her to have you there, even as she sleeps.
    I'm humbled to hear Raleigh is keeping you company through this challenging time. Thank you for letting me know. And thanks for calling the book "delicious." What a wonderful word.
    God bless you and your mom. May she heal fast and well.
    Thanks again for your note.