The Price of Mason by Linda Kage

Friday, November 30, 2018

Why Mason was so hard to write
and why it took so long to finish him:
Aside from all the obvious reasons, like the fact that I have a full-time job already, two young children, a husband, and all those other real-life things that cut into my writing time, here are the things specific to Mason and his book...

So, to begin with, this story was request-driven, and anything I’m asked to write is always more challenging for me to accomplish than something I was inspired to do on my own.
My inner whiner wants to come out and stomp its feet and holler, but I wanna do my OWN thing not what everyone else wants me to do.
I really am that pathetic too, but still…my muse needs to be awake for the words to come, so it’s always more difficult to jumpstart my writing spirit when it hasn’t already been ignited by inspiration.
But... I’ve proven to myself that I can write upon request, so I knew I could this time too; it would just take me a bit to get into the grove of this particular project, which it really did.
The fact that I’d already written it through Reese’s eyes made it harder to tell as well.

I know; logically, it seems as if that should make it easier, right, since I already knew everything that was going to happen.

But I’m not the sort who can easily re-read a book I’ve already read, so guess what it was like for me to re-write one I’d already written! I didn’t want to get bored, because wow, if I—the freaking author—got bored writing it, I could only imagine what you poor readers would go through reading it.

Whether I’m the storyteller or the audience, I still want to sit on the edge of my seat in anticipation while working my way through a story, just as much as the next person does. So, trying to keep it new and interesting for me was a big worry going in, which made me procrastinate even starting it.
Once in there, however, repeating the key scenes from the first book that needed to be in this one too was totally different from Mason’s point of view, so that didn't bore me, thank goodness. (YAY!)  And when I finally got to some new never-seen-before scenes, woo baby, I just went at it, full throttle.
I tried to change as much as I possibly could without changing the original plot by adding new stuff or deeper details that weren’t there before in order to keep it as unique as I could so it would still be entirely its own story, independent of anything else.

So yeah, if you've never read Price of  Kiss, you can still read this as a complete standalone story, no problem!
Also, my favorite kind of series books are the ones where they change main characters with each new volume, especially in romance. When one couple gets their happily ever after, I’m ready to move on to the next and learn their story.  After too many stories with the same couple, watching them go through an abundance of issues and ups and downs, I start to get antsy.  Linda needs variety!!
I mean, admittedly, some of my favorite series novels are where the main characters remain constant throughout the series, but if given the choice, I’d probably prefer to switch it up each time. So that’s another reason why writing about the same couple for a second book was challenging for me.
Then there was this reason:

Way back in 2013, I swear I did write Price of a Kiss entirely through Reese’s eyes (except for the prologue) for a reason. I knew that if Mason told his side, I’d have to actually experience watching him with other women, like, you know…in the act.

And seriously, ain’t no one want to see that. (Wait, right?!)
Worse yet, it didn’t seem as if I would fully capture his point of view unless I did see a couple of his thoughts while he was, er, conducting a business transaction with a client or two. That was a big part of his life; I felt as if I would be cheating him of his identity if I didn’t cover some major things that helped form him into the guy he was.
But I knew it would be too hard for me to see him like that with someone who wasn’t Reese, so…that’s why I initially didn’t even give him his point of view. I was just too chicken to look at all of him.
And yeah, while it was tough to write those parts, (So heads’ up—there ARE other-women scenes) living through it with him helped me understand him so much better. So I’m definitely glad I stopped being a chicken and woman-upped to capture the complete Mason experience, because now I love him even more than I did in 2013. 

Once I actually stopped procrastinating and putting it off and I said, I am not writing anything else until I finish THIS book, well…Mason didn’t really want to cooperate for the longest time. The turd. He seriously did not want to show me or anyone else his story—he’s still nervous about revealing his truths (because holy crackers, guys, I didn’t realize how much he lied; he is one big-fat liar, for real)—but once I finally cracked him open, wow, the dude told ALL. I learned stuff about Mason I absolutely did not know before. He portrayed himself—the good and the bad, his strengths and his weaknesses—to the very best of his ability.
Writing his story was definitely an experience.  There were so many times I felt pinned down, knowing I couldn’t change something I really REALLY wanted to change because it had already happened in Price of a Kiss, but Mason had a way of guiding me through and making it okay when I finally just let him take over and tell his story. And it ended up being so much more meaningful to me in the end.
And finally, the last reason I put off The Price of Mason for as long as I did: I just didn’t want to say goodbye yet.
I know, I know. They’re only books. You read them for a couple hours, think yay or nay, and then move on. What’s the big deal? But for me, it's not quite like that. As I’m sure it is for every writer and their creation, writing a story takes a lot out of you. For each hour it takes you to read something, it probably takes that author a hundred to write it. It does for me, anyway. Then there’s the editing, and the editing, and the editing.  Did I mention the editing?! Even at the sloppy, messy rough draft stage, it took hundreds of hours to reach that point. It's just not a quick, painless process.

Ack!  I think I’m getting off point there.  Anyway…
So yeah, I have been with the Forbidden gang for five years, gotten to know each character, lived in their heads, laughed with them, cried with them, experienced life through them. I lost sleep, thinking about them, trying to fix their problems (or give them problems). I lost friends and gained friends because of them, been torn down and built up because of them, ignored my kids and husband too my times, risked my day job, forgot to eat or neglected to eat healthily, left my house a mess all to make these guys as real as I could, flaws and all. I created them. They’re not just family to me; they are me, little scattered pieces of me sprinkled in here and there that came out as something that became totally their own and not me at all (if that makes any sense).
Completing and trying to tie all the books together enough to satisfy me and then be done with them forever wasn’t easy. It was kind of like leaving a part of myself behind.
BUT I’m also getting restless, and I want to explore other things in writing, more things, not grow stagnant and be stuck in just one world. I need something new.
So, I was torn a lot there as well, which brought on even more procrastination. But I honestly believe ending back at the beginning like this with Mason and coming full circle was the best path for the series. And I am happy where it has come to rest.
I was full of reluctance going into this story, but I knew people out there wanted it, and I love you guys enough to do this for you! That’s why I put in the work, and I think it actually ended up making me a stronger person for it.  There's definitely something about doing a job that's difficult  that makes you appreciate it even more at the end.   
So, THANK YOU for giving me that adventure!
And while I’m so, so very sorry it took me this freaking long to finish it, I’m also super excited—while as nervous as Mason is—to share him with you. He’s by no means perfect because he’s way too human for that, but his imperfections just might be what have endeared me to him the most.
So, for those of you who asked for this book, here you go! THE PRICE OF MASON is now available for you to experience as well.

Big hugs,
Linda Kay