I’m handing the blog over to Emma Pass today for the first stop on her blog tour for THE FEARLESS, which is out today! I was lucky enough to read an early draft of this amazing post-apocalyptic thriller about an army of super soldiers. Sixteen-year-old Cass’s younger brother is taken and she sets out into dangerous territory, risking everything to find him. It’s just brilliant. Over to you, Emma…
The Fear, the Terror, the Horror! (Of the Second Novel) by Emma Pass
First novels are easy. Well, OK, not easy. There’s nothing easy about writing a novel at all, as anyone who’s tried it can testify. But when I wrote ACID, I was agented but unpublished, and had what I now realise is the luxury of several years to work on it, writing draft after draft until it was as good as I could make it.
The Fearless was a very different prospect. I had a contract. Deadlines.
And the worst case of stage fright I’ve ever had in my life. I’d heard about other writers being paralysed by the terror of the second novel, but I hadn’t expected it to happen to me. After all, the team at my publisher believed in my writing enough to buy not one, but two books from me. That meant I knew what I was doing, right?
As soon as I started The Fearless, doubts began to creep in. You’re a fraud, they whispered. The first time was a fluke. There’s no way you can do this again. This is awful. As soon as you send it to your editor they’re going to reject it. And even if they don’t, readers will hate it.
It didn’t matter that my beta readers said they liked it. It didn’t matter that, when I did send it to my editor, her reaction to what was by anyone’s standards a very rough, plot hole-y first draft was entirely enthusiastic. It didn’t matter that a small, logical part of my own brain was telling me that, actually, the book was OK. The rest of my brain wasn’t listening to anyone. How ironic that I was writing a novel about people who no longer have the ability to feel fear…
Although there are always points in a writer’s journey where you have to battle low self-confidence – in particular when you’re querying and on submission – I had never felt anything quite like this before. The terror quite literally consumed me, to the point where I wondered if I should give up writing altogether instead of inflicting this awful, terrible, horrible book on the world.
Luckily, the logical part of my brain was still functioning – just – and decided to give me a metaphorical slap round the face.
Publishers don’t publish books just to be nice, it told me sternly. They don’t want this book just because they feel sorry for you. If it was really that bad, they’d TELL you. OK?
With the support of family and fellow writers, I carried on, and finally began to emerge from the fog of anxiety that had consumed me while I was writing the first draft. And now publication day is here, I can feel proud of the fact that I battled the Second Book Terrors and survived. Hooray!
As for when the reviews start coming in… well, if you want me, I’ll be hiding under the bed!
Description: The Fearless. An army, powered by an incredible new serum that makes each soldier stronger, sharper, faster than their enemies. Intended as a force for good, the serum has a terrible side-effect – anyone who takes it is stripped of all humanity, empathy, love. And as the Fearless sweep through the country, forcing the serum on anyone in their path, society becomes a living nightmare. Cass remembers the night they passed through her village. Her father was Altered. Her mother died soon after. All Cass has left is her little brother – and when Jori is snatched by the Fearless and taken to their hellish lair, Cass must risk everything to get him back.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emma Pass has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. Her debut novel, dystopian thriller ACID, is out now and was the winner of the 2014 North East Teenage Book Award. It will be followed by THE FEARLESS, another stand-alone thriller for young adults, in April 2014. By day, she works as a library assistant and lives with her husband and dog in the North East Midlands.
FOLLOW THE TOUR