Happy New Year! And a Vanishing Throne Update. :)
You guys, I can’t even believe 2014 is over. Since 2013 was such a difficult year for me, 2014 was a vast improvement on a personal level. It started out really rough; I spent the entire month of January finishing up The Vanishing Throne for its February deadline, and then immediately set to work completing a rough draft of my PhD thesis. By the end of March, I found myself so burned out and tired. I’m not a terribly prolific author to begin with, so forcing myself into that kind of constant work mode was physically and emotionally draining.
So it took me quite a while to recover from that, and the rest of the year was (for the most part) absolutely lovely and wonderful. Here are the highlights:
The Falconer was released in the US! *cue confetti*
Obviously this is a huge one. I got my deal for The Falconer way back in 2011, so the US folks had to wait a whole 31 months from deal to release. Publication is really soooooo sloooooooooowwwww. I know that better than most.
In any case, I wanted to thank everyone who read, reviewed, and messaged me about the book. You guys are amazing and I’m so grateful you took the time to check it out. <3
I also got married to the wonderful Mr. May after 11 years together!
Yes, WOW, that took a long time. It was a lovely, short ceremony at an old tower in Kirtlebridge in Dumfriesshire, with just our parents and a few friends. It was exactly the kind of wedding I’ve always wanted (short, intimate on account of social anxiety), and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
After that, we took our parents up to the Highlands for a small vacation.
My parents had never gone outside Edinburgh before, so we took them to Skye and Mull and stayed at the loveliest B&B in Fort William. We hiked to the fairy pools and around Loch Ness and had a grand time seeing the sights.
After that, I finished my PhD thesis, which I’ve been working on for 5 long years.
Ughhhh this one was really emotional for me. 5 years is a long time to work on a single project, and I just felt like I didn’t have a life other than this. I had never taken a break from school (I went from high school > undergrad > directly to PhD) and I was so tired that completing this one thing made me burst into tears. I know it sounds terribly ridiculous — though I think anyone who’s done a PhD might understand. It’s a long, difficult, emotionally draining degree. I’m glad it’s done. I never want to go through that again.
I slept a lot after that. A lot. I spent time getting to know myself again and hiking and generally just…doing nothing. Doing nothing is nice, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
And I climbed my first Scottish Munro.
It was amazing to climb that mountain. If anything I’ve ever done could come close to a religious experience, that was it. It was wonderful and amazing and the view was everything. I know it seems silly that climbing a mountain would be that important, but after finishing my PhD, it was. Ohhh, it was. 🙂
Because it meant I was ready to hike around in the Outer Hebrides, where Mr. May and I went for our belated honeymoon.
The cliffs were just amazing. Beautiful, stunning. Amazing. We went to eight islands in the Outer Hebrides, and spent so much time hiking around Lewis and Harris and the Uists. We went to beaches and watched sunsets. And we hiked treacherous cliffs in storms brought about by hurricanes. It was glorious. I want to rewind and go again.
Late in the year, I had to complete edits for The Vanishing Throne, which was definitely one of the most challenging revisions I’ve ever done because I was working on it right when SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) kicked in. So I went on a writing retreat with Emma Trevayne and Laura Lam to the beautiful Isle of Arran.
Perhaps the most difficult thing about editing The Vanishing Throne was that I basically had to start over on the manuscript. My editor and I had discussed adding some scenes at the beginning of the book, and when I wrote them, they had such a huge impact that Aileana’s characterization in the original manuscript didn’t work anymore.
So I rewrote and re-edited. And I added 30k words.
Yes, The Vanishing Throne is quite a long manuscript, and it’s a lot more than The Falconer. More is the only way I can describe it, really. More emotional, more worldbuilding, more characterization, more. For comparison, The Falconer‘s final, final draft was 89k. And perhaps I’ll end up trimming this, but it’ll still be the longest manuscript I’ve written. Finishing it was a great way to start 2015.
So happy new year, readers! I hope 2015 is productive and wonderful.
xx Elizabeth May