I briefly mentioned some personal things in my ‘review’ for What Once Was. I also said I’d probably get into that in the reviews for the other books in the series. I tried to write something up about it, and it was WAAAAY too personal along with being far ‘too much’.
I’ve written ‘reviews’ for most of the books I’ve released, in part to give people a good idea of what to expect when reading and in another part because I was thinking maybe SOMEONE out there might at some point be interested in some of the little (or large) things I might say in there. Thoughts I had, random little things, so on.
From the Ashes is a weird series for me, in a lot of ways. If you’ve read my other ‘reviews’ or even caught some updates on my website here and there, it’s possible you’ll have seen me saying something about my (personal) issues with releasing books, usually due to content.
That’s a big thing for me, for a lot of reasons.
Words are, in some ways, my entire life. The weight of them is something that I feel, assess, work through, think about CONSTANTLY.
This series was hard for me in a lot of ways, some more than others. Some simply having to do with the main character being very ‘out there’, in all the ways she is, and it conflicting in a lot of ways with a lot of parts of me.
I’ve always said: This isn’t about me; this is about the books.
Getting out of my own way is something that has taken a lot of work for me, some stretches of time more than others, some stories more than others.
The releasing of this series was very much like stretching a muscle for me internally, in ‘putting money where your mouth is’, as much as I don’t really like that saying.
I LOVE these books. I LOVE these characters. So all this might sound strange, and I’m sure I’m not doing half as good a job explaining as what I would like.
I like the thought that each and every one of the stories I’ve written has in some way altered me for the better. Sometimes, the letting go of them has done almost as much altering as the actual stories, characters, words.
Some are more personal than others. Some are more private than others. Some are more . . . behind doors with the doors open.
Getting past and to some place beyond the reach of the claws of fear is hard freaking work, in its ways. With some things more than other things, of course.
The releasing of each and every one of my books, oddly enough, has been like getting more distance between me and that (outstretched claws of fear). And it, even more oddly enough, doesn’t have diddly to do with other people’s thoughts on them and the worry/stresses that can come with that. (Though getting truly accustomed to the thought of not everyone will like everything takes work and is something that brings peace—when it gets beyond acceptance in the head and down into acceptance in the spirit.)
It has to do with my own fears on a great many things, mostly the weight of the words, the responsibility of what I’m putting out into the world.
I’m a quiet person. My books that are ‘more quiet’ might worry me in some ways.
The ‘louder’ ones are different.
I’ll admit . . .
From the Ashes as a series has, at times, scared the absolute daylight out of me. It’s kind of like the difference between a little tap and someone giving a swing all they’ve got. And I don’t mean in the sense of whether ‘people will like it’. I know I can’t be the only one who would enjoy all my books. It’s just not statistically probable! Ha
It’s far more the intensity of the swing, and if someone misses it, they miss it. If that makes sense. Then all the momentum of it being spun around.
I’ve always done my absolute best to give some hope in my books. It’s hard in some of them, hard to see in some. Maybe really especially hard to see when the people are so rough and tumble. Or maybe not. Maybe then it’s most apparent. I’m not sure. I only know what I’ve gotten out of them.
And I got a lot out of this series.
The main character is realistic, scientific-minded, factual, unafraid, dedicated, disciplined, at times so out there that I can’t imagine what she’d be like to deal with were she an actual person. (Had I not seen it. Haha)
She’s damaged, hardened, hurting, and has such little hope and faith in anything. Including people. Certainly none of that in anything else.
I’ve had my moments of things of that nature, and maybe that makes it doubly hard. When you think back on the empty moments of your own life, where life itself has drained you of absolutely everything it possibly could, and you’ve just got nothing but the hard facts to get you through the days. And looking back at that time, you see you were starving to death inside, limping from one day to the next, and struggling to breathe.
There are parts of my life that I sometimes wouldn’t want to look in the face of, and maybe—after coming out of that—it makes this series doubly hard for me. Far less the four-letter words and far more the mentalities that life can push a person to.
As I said in my ‘review’ for What Once Was, when I was a younger lady and was a little less lady-like than I am now . . .
I had a group of people in my life.
And they came into my life during a several-year stretch where I was starving to death on the inside, had no faith in anything, people included. Then, slowly, as groups altered, and more people touched and cared for parts of my soul . . .
I came out a different person than I went in, not just in some simple way of time passing, but like having internal bits getting to a place where they could begin repairing.
In some ways, Kylie is absolutely nothing like me. Actually the farthest from any of the characters I’ve written, probably, and that might even include male characters I’ve written from the perspective of.
In other ways?
I understand certain aspects of her life and being far better than any of the characters who have (more) similar personalities to me.
And they’re not easy parts to look at, in any sense.
I don’t often like to ‘tell people’ what I feel the ‘points’ of any of my books/series are. I like to see/hear what they get out of them (often things I never would’ve expected or seen/gotten myself). That’s a beautiful thing about words, I think. People can, at times, get precisely what they need from them, and what I need or needed will be different from the next person, so on. So, ‘my things’ won’t be someone else’s, maybe. (I don’t like imposing my things on anyone, at all and in general, and that’s just me as a person.)
But one of the largest ‘points’ of this entire series is just how profound a difference people can have in your life.
That, I know from experience.
Just as I know how freaking lucky I was to have had ‘my squad’. It’s something I wish every girl could have—a group of boys who aren’t like ‘normal boys’. Something better. Something different. Something so far beyond special that even the more than 400,000 words of this series can’t do justice to it or them.
The people I had changed my life. They changed my perception on so many things—capabilities, compassion, care. They fixed so much damage that had been done.
I only really talk to one of them still, but I wouldn’t know how to thank any of them. I in a lot of ways wouldn’t know what to say even if I have a million things I could say.
I like to think the essence of this series—the reverence for and the difference made by the people in her life—will be, in some ways, an expression of gratitude for/from me. It’s always for me felt like a ‘friend love story’, where someone has a group of people and loves them so profoundly that it’s entirely life-altering.
I’m not sure how many people will get or feel that, but I do hope that maybe a couple of those people in my life might be keeping up with me and will, in one way or another, know just how much they meant and mean to me.
But there are some rough bits to get through, and not every book is for every person! Ha
So, I wanted to make sure I included the dedication in Book 4 (From the Ashes), up above in the picture, in case they might see this but not that.
My parting words in this ‘review’ are . . .
I hope so much that everyone reading this has/had/will have such wonderful people in their life. If you haven’t found them yet?
They’re out there.