It started with an idea - what if Blackbeard the Pirate really was in league with the Devil? What if, in fact, the bones that are resting somewhere at the bottom of the Atlantic off Ocracoke Island are still inhabited by...something? What if someone knew about that something and decided to bring that something back from the dead? Then it just kind of snowballed from there. I spent a lot of time in Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, going to pirate exibits, studying the history of Blackbeard, trying to figure out what kind of man he was. I studied a lot of demons and H.P. Lovecraft folklore, as well as the Dismal Swamp, where some of the action takes place. There were lots of interviews, trips to the library, internet research trips and you name it. I had to do plenty of research for all the characters in my book, which was no easy task, believe me. But only what I had to do.
Once the writing was done, then began the rewriting, which seemed to take longer than the writing itself. I probably rewrote the book at least three times from beginning to end. After that, I let several people read it and got input and made changes accordingly, whether they be technical or otherwise. Then came a big learning curve about agents and how they work and why you need one. I learned about writing query letters by reading a lot and by looking at various agent Web sites to understand their likes, dislikes and so on. I wrote at least five different query letters before I finally found the one that seemed to get the most response.
After getting rejected by approximately 85 agents, however, I became somewhat dejected. I decided to skip the agent route and try to find an independent publisher that accepted unsolicited manuscripts. After about 10 or so rejections, I started getting bites, this time from two publishers at once! I ultimately settled on Nightbird, because, well, they're just cool. And because Publisher Jeff Dennis is just a hell of a nice guy and a fellow musician as well as a skilled novelist.
Now, as they say, the real work begins and we have begun the editing process known as "typeset editing," which means you get to see the book the way it will look when it's printed. I'll let you know how that goes - until then, keep the lights on.