Updated: Apr 19, 2019
My newest project, The Memory of Simon Battle, is finally ready! Memory is a novella – at about 24,000 words, it sits nicely within the 17,500 - 40,000 word range. It is partially a ghost story and partially a romance.
I wouldn’t be exaggerating by saying that Memory took me a ridiculously long time to finish. I know the exact day I started writing it – April 17th, 2012. It was based extremely loosely on a dream, in which someone named Simon Baker (I changed it immediately when I realized he’s an actor and that’s where the name came from) did something. I honestly don’t remember at all. .
I finished the first draft on March 7th, 2016. Between those dates, I started to post it on Fictionpress, DeviantArt and Inkitt. It actually got quite a bit of praise, and I posted it in the hopes that knowing people were waiting for new chapters would encourage me to write faster. I wasn’t bored of it, in fact I continued to love the characters and the story. The problem was, in that same time I wrote Without A King, two of its sequels (and started the 4th) as well as countless short stories within that world. The Greatest Thief universe took over and Memory took a back seat.
Memory was a first for me. The first story I planned out to be a novella, but also the first time I wrote something more serious in third-person. I guess I wanted to try something new. I knew the story from the start, and even what the title would be. Many years later, when I wrote the scene where Simon's tombstone reads “In Memory of Simon”, I realized that it matched the title perfectly. However the title of the book came years before I had even thought of the specifics of this scene. So I don’t remember where “The Memory of Simon Battle” came from originally. I don’t remember what I meant by it.
Aside for the dream, Memory is based on a couple of other things. The cottage was based on the cottage my grandfather lived in. He passed away the year before I started writing it, and in part Cassidy's grandfather is based on him.
The rest of the island is inspired by Newfoundland, which my family visited later in 2012. I wasn't very far into the story when we visited, but it changed the way I imagined the island looking. I loved the cliffs and the ocean, the different towns and lighthouses, and the fog. This trip also gave me the first idea of writing a sequel, called The Ghost of Sam Keeper (I've since changed it to The Light of Sam Keeper). A specific foggy scene in chapter eight was something I came up with while driving through the Newfoundland fog - although I didn't get around to writing that scene for years!
When I was finally done writing and started considering self-publishing, there was one last hurdle. I needed a cover. Luckily, my mom is great with ink and watercolours, which was exactly the type of look I wanted. The cover I made back in 2013 to post online wasn't great, but used a picture from Newfoundland! (I dug it up for this post and was really surprised to see I'd used the same font!)
So my mom started designing the cover. It went through a few different versions, and the concept completely changed. Once the design was done, it still took multiple paintings to get it to look just right! This whole process took a few years! Mostly because we were both distracted and didn't dedicate any time to the project.
After the cover was complete, there came the illustrations! Adding these was actually my mom's idea, because there were places in the book where Cassidy doodled in her notebook. It was really fun to come up with the illustrations together, and I think they're a very cute touch to the book.
As I mentioned before, I do want to write more stories based on these characters. Originally, my idea for a series name was "The Stories of the Spirits", which would work more like an anthology. Instead, I'm now calling the series "The Ghosts of Akre Island". Cassidy will be a recurring character. I hope to add more novellas to the collection, but maybe I'll write some short stories, or maybe even poems (if I can figure out how to write one!). I even have an idea for a spin-off of sorts that could involve the ghosts of animals, loosely based on a story I wrote when I was in grade five!
I hope you think The Memory of Simon Battle was worth the wait!