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Invasion of the Frorees – Author Notes

Invasion of the Frorees – Author Notes

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. I hope you enjoyed the first installment of The SPOOK & GOON Space Adventures series.

I joined the self-publishing revolution in the summer of 2015 with the release of my debut fitness memoir, Work Out Pig Out. After spending the next two years writing about myself with the follow-ups in the Home Gym Strong series, my wife suggested I take a break and write about something else. I hadn’t written fiction since a class with the editor of North American Review back in college, but I had a fun sci-fi idea pop into my head over the summer of 2017.

The book you just read is a lot different from the initial idea I had while laying out getting a suntan. As I toasted myself to a golden brown on the roof our townhouse in Chicago, I thought back to our favorite beach in the world, Grace Bay, Providenciales in Turks and Caicos. I wondered what if aliens were watching and plucked one unlucky soul from the beach to their faraway ship? I never went much further than the initial idea, but I kept it in the back of my mind.

I wrapped up Get Strong Get Lean and released it in October 2017. Afterward, I joined a few online fiction groups, trying to figure out how to write a novel. I’d never written anything that long before that wasn’t already have mapped out. I bounced a few ideas around to my mentor, Ramy Vance, learning about plot points I’d need to develop to move the story forward, secondary characters I’d need to create, and a thousand other things one doesn’t think about when coming up with the initial idea.

I was so overwhelmed by the thought of even starting that I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I made up tons of excuses, saying I was just putting myself into the right frame of mind. Weeks turned into months. While others in the groups were writing and having fun getting into their stories, I only had a single page filled with a few notes about a magazine article from 1975 about a coming ice age.

I work as a corporate recruiter in my daily life and happened to interview a candidate one day in January 2018. She listed on her resume that she’d been a published author. At the end of the interview, we chatted a bit about that, and she shared that she had a few novels published after college. That was all it took. I wanted to say I could do that.

The next morning, January 18, I sat down and wrote the opening White Night scene as soon as I woke up. I wrote it in first person and realized it didn’t work. Over lunch, I rewrote it mostly how it appears earlier in this book. With that first scene out of the way, I was on a mission. I spent the next thirteen days scrambling to get words on the page as fast as I could, wanting to have the first draft completed by February 1.

I knew that if I stopped screwing around and wasting time, I could do it. I forced myself to write in 30-minute blocks during the week with multiple sessions on the weekends. I was driven to get it done, no matter how tiring it became.

I still didn’t know what I was doing but figured I’d learn as I went along. I had plot points I wanted to hit along the way but major gaps to fill in between. Magically, the words flowed forth each time I sat down at my 13” MacBook Pro and set the timer for 30 minutes. Characters and scenes appeared out of the blue, driving the story along.

As the Super Blue Blood Moon eclipse occurred on the morning of January 31, I wrote the final chapter of the book. In 13 days, I’d wrapped up a rough, rough, rough 60,000 word draft of Invasion of the Frorees. I then promptly moved onto Book 2, Escape of the Glitter Princess, completing both rough drafts in about five weeks before moving on to yet another story in the series, Domination of the SPOOKS. It was a short-story prequel, or origin story, for one Dom Wagner, and I wrote it over the next five days.

After the initial burst of creativity, I slowed down and took my time editing my Froree story. I don’t have the patience for it, but luckily my wife stepped in and saved me from abandoning the project. We worked through the draft, page-by-page, during several intense weekends this past summer. Instead of being out enjoying the gorgeous weather, we plowed through until we had a cohesive manuscript. It’s been a long process, but I can’t wait to do it again.

Chad V. Holtkamp
Chicago, Illinois
9 Sept 2018

Copyright © 2018 Chad V. Holtkamp.
All rights reserved.

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