I think BLF (Book Launch Fear) is something we don’t talk about out of the shadows.
We talk about how excited we are to share a book and how happy we are with the finished product and how much we love our characters. But sometimes… sometimes… sometimes there’s a little fear in there too.
My next book, Secret Life (RVHS Secrets #2) is the second in my series of standalones around teens at Ridge View High – there’s soccer gods and painters and girly-girls and tomboys. There’s baseball players and cheerleaders and dancers. There’s secrets and betrayals and some of the best of friendships.
But, my next book has something I said I’d never write, but accidentally started the book and then didn’t stop until it was done.
It has a heroine with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Just like me.
Okay, not just like me — and that’s where my fear comes in.
Already, a couple of pre-readers have made comments that “someone with BDD wouldn’t do that” or “with BDD she wouldn’t think that or be like that.” It kind of blew my mind. And it scares the snot out of me.
I want to share a few very, very important things with everyone clearly:
- BDD, like all disorders, effects people at differing severity and in differing ways — Just like depression. No one is depressed in the same way. The difference can be extreme.
- Everything in my book is based off of my own feelings and thoughts OR those of other BDD women I’ve talked to. So, YES. Those things readers assume someone wouldn’t do or think? They’ve been done and thought. Even I’ve been surprised what women have shared around this!
- Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
- And, finally, because this has happened with my beta readers (and they’re very sweet in their concern for me) – the extreme action Rachel takes in the book isn’t something I did — but I can completely understand why she does.
This is not a book about me. Or my journey. This in no way is a memoir or self-indulgent writing. Rachel is a character. A very specific one. But, just like every character, she should feel real because a writer draws characters that way… not because of me the writer personally.
With all that in mind, I worry. A lot. I have had friends write about things that people think they understand. They think, I know someone who XYZ’d or I have ABC or I understand LMN a certain way. And then they assume that’s the ONLY way something can happen or be experienced.
My hope is that, telling Rachel’s story will give people a glimpse of what BDD is like for some people. That they’ll maybe not be able to understand exactly how someone who struggles with these things feels or reacts, but they’ll understand that for those people, this is reality. Everyone’s reality is different.
I honestly hope that people look at the book and have empathy for others. We all have our struggles. Every one of us. I hope that a little bit of care toward other people can make everyone a little happier.
Also, since you’re reading this, to everyone who won’t take no for an answer when I say “No thank you” to having my picture taken — this is why. Photos are one of my remaining triggers. I’ve found a lot of balance after decades of work. Sometimes I get to say “Yes!” to the pictures, but, yeah – Be kind. Owning a camera doesn’t give you the right to put someone on the spot. Sometimes people don’t want their picture taken for a reason. Show love. Say okay. Move on. WE ALL HAVE A THING. RESPECT PEOPLE’S THING.
Secret Life comes out in 2 weeks. More on it HERE.