I am not my characters, and I am under no illusion that they are objectively real, but while I’m creating, they are real to me. And when we are done with each other, it’s like a good friend is moving to another planet–someplace where the communication isn’t frequent or even feasible.
Last night I sent off the first draft of the final Jill Kismet book, Angel Town, to agent, beta reader, and editor. I cried when I finished the zero draft, I cried when I finished first-revision, and I cried right after I hit the “send” button and the first draft took its first few toddling steps into the world.
I’ll see it again, of course–there’s edits, then copyedits, then proofs to get through–but in a very real way, Jill is gone. Her story is done. I had more to say, certainly, but six books is enough. I can say what remains in other ways. Or, if I can’t, maybe it should remain unsaid.
Jill’s been a difficult character. Not as difficult as Dante, certainly, but aching in her own way. It was hard to say goodbye to Danny and Japh, too. I suspect a lot of it is just that when one spends a long, long time inside characters’ heads, sharing their triumphs and failures, one is bound to feel a certain amount of grieving afterward. I grieve for Jill and Saul, for Galina and Theron, for Anya Devi and even, a very little bit, for Perry.
So today I’m a little raw and tender. It’s a day for listening to the rain on the roof and watching Romeo!Jay and Juliet!Jay at the birdfeeder. Maybe some easy cookie-making with the kids later on in the afternoon. That sounds good.
Vaya con Dios, Kismet. And thank you. You got me through some rough spots, and it’s been a Hell of a ride. (Get it? Arf arf…)
Over and out.