Stage Fright

The funeral march plays. The execution drums beat to the rhythm of the condemned man’s pounding heart. The bloodthirsty crowd wait for the moment the noose is placed around his neck and he plummets through the trap door into eternal darkness. Except this is not our execution. (Sorry about that). This is the one week countdown to *the execution drums beat faster* the release of Soul Asylum.

And we’re terrified.

Condemned man about to reach the gallows terrified. Our entire writing lives, (all 17 diabolical years of them) all we’ve ever wanted was to publish our novels. To hold our own books in our hands. (Maybe brain the odd burglar with them should our swords fail). The crappy bound books we used to make with childish felt pen covers don’t count. And now finally, for the first time ever, one of our dreams is actually coming true. And we’re beyond scared.

Soul Asylum was first written SEVEN YEARS ago. It’s had so many edits it’s practically unrecognisable from the terrible original. At least, we assume it’s terrible. We can’t bring ourselves to read it in its handwritten, raw form.  So seven years of work is about to be launched into the public eye and we’re not ready. We think it’s crap. It’s not dark enough, not scary enough, not well written enough,  it doesn’t do the cover justice, it’s not the novel we so desperately wanted it to be. These are the thoughts that keep us awake at night.

After all the build-up, nobody’s going to like it. We strongly suspect every writer has this crisis of confidence when release day draws near. Except we didn’t really have it for Gunning Down Romance. We were too excited. Two of the stories had already been published and well received. It was the first story, Kiss of Death we were worried about because we couldn’t get the ending right. We were more nervous about Disenchanted because everyone loved GDR, we thought we couldn’t match it.  Second album syndrome or whatever it’s called. But the few people who’ve read Disenchanted told us as much as they loved GDR, they prefer Disenchanted. But Soul Asylum is nothing like them. It’s not a collection of short, darkly humorous stories. It’s a ghost story set entirely in an asylum. The novel does not venture outside the grounds of Ravens Retreat.

We can actually feel a panic attack lurking. For those of you who know us, you know we’ve suffered them since we were 14 but they haven’t plagued us for months. Now we can feel them chasing us down like demented serial killers in the latest slasher film. The book is launched in a WEEK. We’ve been preparing for it since JULY. We formatted the ebook WEEKS ago. We prepared the print book a few weeks ago. We’ve been planning the trailer with Ryan since Disenchanted’s trailer was released in July. We’ve been thinking about it for even longer – maybe a year. And we’re not ready. We haven’t filmed the launch video. Haven’t even picked an extract to read or a location where to film it. Our desperate attempts to gain permission to film the book trailer inside an asylum have either been ignored or refused. So Ryan’s now working on the trailer using our back up plan. We still have guest blog posts to write and we have no idea what to topics to choose. We haven’t even scheduled a launch party because we’re frightened the proposed launch on Oct 1st won’t happen.

Maybe we’re better delaying its release ‘til we’re ready. Next year perhaps. But no, ‘cos our aim was to have a novel published before we were 30. That deadline runs out in February. If only we had more time to do just one more edit…

But right now we feel like running into the asylum and locking ourselves away until the launch is over. Because if this book is as awful as our minds are telling us it is, then our dreams will burn like the patients who haunt Ravens Retreat.