Justine Alley Dowsett visits my blog today sharing the book that changed her life.
When people ask me if there’s a book that changed my life, my answer is always the same: Crimson Winter; Ruins of Sapphire. I’m fairly certain that when people ask this question, they’re not looking for me to name one of my own books, and especially not a YA science-fiction fantasy novel. They’re no doubt looking for some kind of self-help book, or a non-fiction memoir but for one thing, those are not the kinds of books that I read and for another, I’m being completely honest when I say that writing Crimson Winter changed my life.
First of all, the process of writing that first draft taught me that I could write. It taught me that I had the dedication to keep coming back, day after day, putting my butt in a chair and keep writing until I got to the end.
It also taught me how to write. I had written before, some middle grade novels, some short stories, some scripts, and some terrible poetry, but working through a project of this size let me try out different techniques, learn how to describe a scene through a character’s eyes, and find my voice as a writer.
I learned perspective. Crimson Winter is written as a first person narrative, so I had to really get inside my character’s head and see the world as she did. It taught me to put myself into her shoes and imagine what it was like to stand where she did. What did she see, hear, smell? How did it affect her and how would going through the events of this story change her?
Ruins of Sapphire, the first installment of this trilogy took me three months to write, but in those three months, I was obsessed. I lived and breathed this book. If I wasn’t actively writing it, then I was thinking about it, editing it, or planning out the next scenes. I lost time to this book, and I learned how to balance my life around my writing. How to compartmentalize so that the world in my head wouldn’t overtake the one happening outside of it.
I also learned the not-so-fun parts of writing a book. The technical side of things. The rewrites, the critiques, the editing, the publishing process, and the sales and marketing side of things.
And now, ten years later, I’m still learning from this book. I’ve re-worked it, discovered what flaws were left and how much my writing style has improved since I started, and having made those changes, I am ready to re-release it into the world.
I hope you enjoy it. I know I have. As I said, it changed my life. It made me a writer.
Meet the Author:
Justine Alley Dowsett is the author of nine novels and counting, and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and occasionally role-playing.