The seed of the idea was that I wanted to put a union man and a company in conflict – and in bed of course! That was in my list of bunnies. Back in September 2010 I had to decide what project to do for NaNoWriMo in November and I had three potentials to work on – including this one. I gave each of them 10 days of brainstorming and at the end of September, chose which one I’d do a proper outline for and write for NaNo.
I didn’t choose the company versus union man in the end, I chose Higher Ground. But I did go on to write and sell all three bunnies, Higher Ground, Ganymede Tilt and my next release, Chrysalis Cage. So that was one very productive month of brainstorming back then. It still amazes me that at that point I hadn’t even started the editing of Stowaway! Where does the time go, eh?
I got back to the union man and company man bunny in 2011, first with some more brainstorming and then in March I started outlining. By then it had acquired a working title of “Hearts and Mines”, which was one of my “too silly to keep” working titles that I use to force me to keep thinking of a proper one. Some people liked that title, but I resisted keeping it! I started the draft in April and got to 35,000 words by the end of the month. Had a bit of a mid-book crisis in May and took a short break, but reread it, tweaked the outline and forged ahead to finish the draft on June 5th, at 66,000 words.
Somewhere along the way it got its permanent name – Ganymede Tilt. So what the heck does that mean? Well the Ganymede part is easy, that’s the setting. A large moon of Jupiter. Okay, but why Ganymede, why Jupiter? There are lots of cool moons in the solar system, like Io and Callisto and Titan. And Saturn is even cooler than Jupiter. Or at least prettier. Well Ganymede is the name of a handsome youth carried off by Zeus to be his cupbearer. (Or that’s what he told Hera when he brought yet another pretty young thing home.) Anyway, so that’s why Ganymede.
And Tilt? Since the two men, Alex and Sean, are on opposite sides of a conflict and are equally matched and trying to get to be top dog in all their interactions, I had this idea of them metaphorically being jousting knights, “tilting” at each other with lances.
So the draft was done. It had a break while I had other things to do. Like publisher edits for Stowaway. And edits and submission and then revise and resubmission of Higher Ground. And another draft for NaNoWriMo 2011. Yes, it had a really long break! I started the edits in January 2012. I do like to give a draft a nice long rest, but six months is a long time even for me.
I submitted it in March to Loose Id and it was rejected, but, Like Higher Ground, as a Revise and Resubmit, which, unlike the usual “and the horse you rode in on” rejection, is one where a publisher says they’d like to see it again if the writer makes some suggested changes. Of course a writer can go “no way!” and just go submit elsewhere. But the suggestions made sense to me – after some thinking about them anyway – and I decided to do it.
But it was a way bigger job than the one for Higher Ground. That involved primarily expanding the start of the book, and adding a chapter in later on. Pretty straightforward. With Ganymede Tilt the plot changed, the relationship changed, characters changed jobs or were cut entirely. It was a lot of work! By the time I’d written new scenes and revised others, I had to do the line editing entirely from scratch.
It took me until July to do it. I sent it back to Loose Id, then spent a few weeks fretting about it, including while I was away at the RNA Conference and was on a campus that didn’t always have a data signal for my phone. Aargh! Then I got the Wi-Fi figured out. Phew. (Nobody stalks their inbox like a writer with a book on submission. Nobody!) In late July it was accepted. Double phew! So those R&R rejections, I can say from twice now, they do work and the publisher really does want to see your book again.
So for the past few months I’ve been doing the edits with Loose Id. The turnaround time is very fast in the Digital press world! And now it’s out. Two years in the making, Sean and Alex await your reading pleasure.
Actually, Alex has been in the making a much longer time. He’s a character I’ve had in my head for many years and he migrated over from a very different setting. I’ve even used what I’d call a parallel universe version of him before, in the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2007. The same person at the core, but in a different situation, with different issues. But oh, my, yes, he has issues. He’s my angstiest character since Greg in Liar’s Waltz. They could have a “who’s more troubled?” contest. (Though Greg would win as his issues are more deeply rooted.) He’s very much a “wounded alpha” who needs to find his strength again.
Sean though emerged entirely from this story idea in the way my characters do emerge from the premise, as I get an idea and wonder about who’d be most interesting to follow in this situation, who’d drive the story forward, what kind of person? Who’s got the most to lose? I’m never someone who starts out with a character and then builds a story around them, because I can’t imagine a character in the abstract without knowing where they come from, what their setting it. But I can of course, as with Alex, transplant them to a new setting. And when I do, they change!
I had fun writing them. They’re a good contrast to Zach and Adam of Higher Ground, who are both beta guys and work well with others, so make a great team. Sean and Alex are both alphas and therefore rivals, both in their professional life and their relationship. There’s always a power struggle between them – just like those jousting knights.