Evolution of An Idea Through Concept and Completion
The July fireworks this year are celebrating the release of my third title, All for Clay, a Christian Fiction Novella and prequel to The Hidden Saboteur (2018). It’s available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.
The development of All for Clay took many twists and turns over a four-month period leading up to its release in late June.
I started the book because some folks wondered why Clay Austin’s mother was never mentioned in The Hidden Saboteur. Considering the serious psychological issues that haunted Clay, people questioned his mother’s role.
A single scene came to mind and I wrote it. (It’s now chapter 25). I loved the scene a lot and planned to expand it into a short story. Problem was the scene had more to do with Clay than his mother, Elizabeth. (You can see an unedited excerpt of that chapter the the February post of this blog.
Turn #1. I needed to shift gears. I left Clay’s point of view and stepped into his mother’s POV to write the remainder of the story.
Twist #1. My title, which I had pre-announced here and in my newsletter, was “Roy Rogers Rides Again.” Nifty title, but it didn’t strike a chord with the necessary direction of the book. After a few glasses of wine, I settled on, All for Clay.Naturally, a change of title and focus meant a change of cover design, too. The story line fermented in my head. A mother’s soul-searching, dedication and sacrifice for her son. A desperate leap at a second marriage that didn’t work out as planned. A brush with faith.
Turn #2. I finished the short story and asked my beta readers to provide feedback. It bombed. I had rushed the process to finish by March. I took a step back and started again without an artificial deadline.
Twist #2. I wrote to fill in the chronological gaps, make transitions flow, and most importantly, to further develop Elizabeth’s character. The 5,000-word short story grew into a 33,000-word novella. Four months after starting the project the story was told.
In the series timeline, All for Clay spans about forty years and ends three months before the opening scene in The Hidden Saboteur
The ideal reading experience for the Clay Austin series is to read the three works in this order: The Hidden Saboteur, All for Clay, and “Painting for a Stranger.” Or, if you dislike following directions, start anywhere.