"Fade To Blue" took almost two years to complete after I finished the initial draft. The novel went through numerous name changes. It started out as "Sour White", which is a fictional brand of soda the characters drink. There were internal discussions as to whether this title sounded too harsh. Then there were discussions about the similarity to "Snow White", and whether readers might think it was some sort of fan fiction spin-off, a notion that would never have occurred to me. The main character, Sophie Blue, was originally named Pam. I still sort of think of her as Pam. I hadn’t realized before I’d sold my first book, "Going Nowhere Faster", exactly how much tweaking a novel goes through before it hits the shelves. There are edit meetings, marketing meetings, focus groups, and legal meetings. There are endless design questions and problems to work through. While a lot of the business of shaping a novel is interesting, as an author, a lot of it is also out of your hands. When you give up that first draft, it’s like sending your child to their first day of preschool. You just hope they make a friend and have a nice teacher and are waiting for you when you pull back up at 2:30.
"Going Nowhere Faster" was definitely there waiting for me, all excited to talk about its day and then go visit Borders.
"Fade To Blue" was a bit more sullen, like it had decided it wanted to start wearing black and get a tattoo. It wanted to go home and listen to scratchy records and sit in the dark. For one thing, the interior artwork—a mini comic by Wilfred Santiago—went through numerous iterations, as I wed the text of the comic to events in the narrative. Wilfred did a great job of making changes on the fly. I think everyone ended up happy with how it came out, but there wasn’t a whole lot of agreement during the process. It turns out that I am a stickler for fonts. If you’d told me ten years ago that I’d ever type the sentence “I am a stickler for fonts” and it wasn’t the punch line for a rude joke, I’d have greatly doubted it.
"Fade To Blue" is the story a young girl who may be losing her mind. Or not. It reflected my personal feelings at the time pretty well. On the other hand, Sophie Blue is enamored with a basketball player, thinks she’s being stalked by an ice cream truck, and wears Midnight Noir lipstick. None of which reflected my feelings at the time at all. Her brother’s name is O.S. Which could stand for any number of things, like Outstanding Student, Original Sin, or Obese Sity. At least according to his cafeteria detractors, of which there are many. O.S. has a bit of a weight problem, and is overly fond of comic books.
My only piece of advice for potential readers is: BEWARE THE NURSE!
In the end, I’m really pleased we went through the struggle. "Fade To Blue" is a better book for it. And like the angry teenager who goes to college and a month later starts calling home three times a week, we’ve become very close.
My new book, for now titled "You Killed Wesley Payne", was sent in less than a week ago, and, like all third children, was an easy birth. I hope to see it on shelves in Fall of 2010.
For more information about Sean Beaudoin and his books please visit his official website.