I feel very attached to Ellie. Deeply attached. I mean, I loved writing Players – it was fun, light-hearted, and the interplay of the characters was unique and interesting. But I didn’t relate to Gretel the way I relate to Ellie. Ellie is a powerful and dynamic character. She is neurotic but measured, deeply caring but completely lost. She can’t figure out her place as one speck of sand in a sea of rules and expectations. She has a deep sense of self control but quickly runs out of rope and finds herself scraping for meaning and even survival. She can’t seem to control a damn thing around her. She can’t seem to have the control over herself that she deeply craves. She is so much every part of me that I’m terrified to show even those I know are here for the long haul.
And I think I sold her short. I didn’t give her a fair chance. I’ve sold 50 or so books and that makes me deeply happy. But it’s not enough. Ellie wouldn’t be satisfied. Her experiences large and small, almost all intense and even suffocating are getting even crazier, even more unbelievable in book 2. She’s coming into herself. She’s owning her neurosis. She’s letting the darkest sides of her shine bright and terrifying through her eyes. She’s becoming an unconscionable mix of loving, loyal, and sharply dangerous. Her journey is going in a very different direction than one would expect from a small, shy girl who tripped her way into humping a pole for a living.
So I’m pulling Stripped from Amazon. I’m going back to the drawing board to find her her proper place. I’m going to restart the process of finding a literary agent who believes in her. I probably won’t find one – hell, I could barely get someone to read about her from the first 30 I submitted to – but it’s doing her no good to sit on a dusty Amazon shelf next to 3 million other books with no hope of anyone finding her without my explicit attempts at promotion. And I’m hopelessly bad at it. If it’s left up to me, she’ll be lucky to see another 5 readers before my heart stops beating.
So I’m gonna give it a shot. I think there’s room in the world for her and her story. I think there are people who want to engage with that kind of crazy.
So, as the bumper sticker on the back of my car always reminds me: