“One Night With A Rock Star” will always hold a special place in my heart since it represents those heady days when I fell passionately in love with writing.
In the summer of 2005, I woke from a dream involving a favorite singing star and a much younger me. It was simple enough, about a chance encounter that progressed no further than a flush-faced request for an autograph, but it lingered, much like a hypnotic melody with lyrics that demand exploration.
Later that week, we took a family trek up the coast of California. My youngest kids were 2 and 4 years and by the third day of action-packed travel, one was crying and the other needed a barf bag held to her mouth, so I deposited myself between them in the back of our van. Finally, with a small head snoozing on each shoulder, I leaned back and reveled in hours of unexpected peace.
Usually I might not have allowed the daydream. After all, dwelling on a man other than my husband surely was wrong, but I was too tired to fight it. Thus, as the miles ticked away, a wonderful story unfolded in my mind.
By the time we arrived back home, the first few pages were recorded on a legal pad. Every spare moment in the coming weeks found me tapping away at our kitchen computer. I have to laugh when I recall uttering the naïve words, “I wish I had three or four uninterrupted days so I could just type away and get this out of my system.”
For an entire month, I survived on three or four hours of sleep per night and, due to the fun I was having thinking like a giddy twenty-year-old, a round-the-clock infusion of pure adrenalin.
By page 100, hubby and I realized this was more than just some little story so, bless his heart, he bought me a laptop. I, however, still had no clue as to the scope of this journey. Even ten months later, when I finally finished the first draft of “Rock Star,” I was blissfully ignorant that a great story wasn’t even fifty percent of the equation when it comes to being an author, at least an author whose stuff actually gets read. But I was hooked. I’d never stop writing—with or without a publishing contract or loyal fans.
However, I was also fully convinced “Rock Star” needed to be read. In a day when morals are a quaint artifact, this tale of a young woman sticking to what’s right even when her fantasy is presented on a silver platter struck at the heart of our society’s cancer of lives shredded by lack of a moral compass. Therefore, I purposed to do whatever it took to craft and polish a story with the power to woo jaded editors with piles of unread manuscripts—who might even disagree with my worldview.
So I took the advice of an author friend and read books about self-editing and writing tips from noted authors. A steep learning curve can be discouraging, but Rock Star was the perfect therapy, spurring me on through intensive rewrites and the wonderful new world of rejection letters.
Through the highs and lows of the journey, my husband and kids provided constant encouragement. My oldest son, the first guinea pig, laughed at all the right moments and begged for more then told me, “Mom, this is just as good as Harry Potter—in its own way.” His loyal praise was my first taste of that sweet nectar—connecting with someone else’s heart through the written word.
But my goal had become much more than just the head-trip of hearing a reader’s praise. I was beginning to have the audacity to think I could make a difference. More and more the a.m. prayer sessions were an overwhelming longing to reach out and stop someone from an unthinking leap off a cliff. But how? To have that effect, to reach as many as possible with a great story that also sparks a life course-correction, would demand even more of a stroll outside my comfort zone.
I figured, once the hearts have been opened by the story, that’s the perfect soul-searching moment. So I developed study questions to accompany each section of Rock Star. But there was another roadblock. Now that I’d written this honest, edgy, but not gratuitous novel, what publisher would want it? I had unwittingly written myself into no-man’s land since Rock Star wasn’t as neat and tidy as most Christian publications. The characters, even the “bad guys,” were multi-faceted and none were inherently good or evil, yet from a non-religious point-of-view, the heroine’s reliance on pleasing God wasn’t believable. Therefore, from a strictly business viewpoint, I could understand the quandry. Too edgy for the Christian market + too moral for the non-religious market + an untried author = publishing risk.
Since 2006, that code has changed somewhat, but at the time, the outlook for finding a publisher for Rock Star was decidedly bleak and I was getting the impression the publishing world would rather find good writers and then transform them into short-order cooks willing to pump out what’s “hot” at the moment. Again, as a business, the focus was on the bottom line—profit. I got it.
But I never stopped believing there was a market for Rock Star. If nothing else, people like me were the perfect target, those who have deep convictions, who are still immersed in “the real world” where their way of life is an eye-opener and/or an irritation to those around them. Besides, even after delving into the novel day after day for years, I still loved it. It still got to me. And I continued to get rave reviews from those few who read it in its Kinko’s-published form. Surely that said something.
Every now and again, when frustration, chaos or disillusionment leaves me with nothing but a big, fat, “Why do I do this?” I pull out Rock Star to remind me of those first heady months of literary courtship. And once more the passion is restored.
I told my oldest son that he would always have a special place in my heart because he was the firstborn, the one that changed me into a mother. That’s what Rock Star will always be: my firstborn novel—the one that changed me.
Chana is a wife, mom of four and author. Her first novel, THE FALL (Rapha Chronicles #1) recently hit #1 in Amazon’s Old Testament/Hebrew category and #9 in Scifi/Fantasy. Her second novel, One Night With a Rock Star, is due May 1, 2013.
Chana is a proud member of the CrossReads Team.