Finishing the first draft of a book is one of the most exhilarating thing an author can do. Knowing that the book they’ve spent months (or even years) working on actually works is amazing, after all the worrying and fretting and re-thinking that took place.

Before I turn my book, Breadcrumbs and Bombs, over to the editor, I’ll need to finish the ending (I have a few pages left), read it through, and do some rewrites/edits of my own. That usually involves adding more details to scenes, polishing the wording, etc.

This book has been in the making for a long time. I’ve known for years that I wanted to write this type of story, but I put it on the back-burner until I was more experienced as a writer. It’s by far my most challenging writing project I’ve ever attempted. It involves multiple characters in multiple places and goes back and forth in time, telling several stories at the same time. It’s about a young man’s search for his family’s past, and his quest to understand who he is and where he came from. His roots. I had to research WWII and delve a bit into my own desire to know my roots. All of my characters are fictional and the story is fictional, but the emotions that went into the story are partly mine.

I had to create character arcs for not only one character, but for a half dozen characters. The amazing thing, to me, is that in some ways this was the easiest book for me to write. I can’t explain it, exactly. For the first time, I knew fairly quickly exactly how the story should evolve. I even created a brief synopsis and a brief chapter-by-chapter outline. Once I had those in place, the writing was almost a breeze. I still found myself typing things that came as a complete surprise, but those were things that amazingly fit into the broader outline perfectly.

At one point, about halfway through the writing of the book, I started crying because of a really emotional scene. I knew ahead of time that it was coming, but it still hit me and made me leave my computer for half an hour. I returned and kept on writing, and I was hopelessly attached to the book. I hope that the scene will be that emotional for readers, too, because that’s what every author wants–to make an impact on readers and get them to really care about the characters.

Before I wrote the book, I was researching and reading lots of books about WWII–nonfiction and novels. I read books that I fell in love with and wished I’d written them. Books that drew me into another world and made we want to keep reading so I could stay with those characters longer. Now, as I finish my book, I feel that same way about my book and I couldn’t be happier. I hope that I’ll still feel that way when the book is completely done, and I hope other readers will feel it, too.

Now I have to finish the ending of the book. A few more pages and then I can begin reading it again and revising as needed. I’ve already set-up the book to have sequels and I can’t wait to write the next one. That will be exciting, too, because I’ll get to research other places and events and learn new things.