If you’ve read any of my books, you may know that I’m inclined to some hyperbole and am not averse to high drama (on the contrary), so, what I’m about to say may come across as a bit of an exaggerated statement (because it’s coming from me.) 😉 But, here it is, anyway: writing this book has changed my life.
At the Water’s Edge is fiction. It’s a made-up story of a broken women going home to find some peace and, mainly, to heal. It’s the story of Ella Goodman, who suffers from depression. Ella’s story is not my story, but nevertheless, I too have battled depression.
I’ve talked about this book before, saying that it has a much more ‘serious’ theme than my other works. This book is the reason why I no longer label myself as a lesbian erotica writer, but a lesbian fiction one. Writing At the Water’s Edge was hard. I cried so much, Kleenex probably had to re-stock the supermarket across the street twice as many times as usual.
I cried until it all broke open for me and I said to my wife, “I think I may have just written an important book.” Important for myself, and, I hope, for anyone else who has, very nearly, succumbed to feelings of despair.
I remember when I first had the idea. I actually remember to the day, because I posted a Facebook status about it. It was on 19 February, now nine months ago, when I was deep into writing the first season of French Kissing. And, cliché as it may sound, while listening to R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People, it was the song Everybody Hurts that triggered the emotion. I literally burst out into tears while walking down the street. Because I remembered something I’d been trying to forget for years.
If, like me, you’ve listened to this particular album a million times, the title of my book may not be unfamiliar either. At the Water’s Edge comes from a song lyric in Nightswimming. I knew I wanted a lake to feature in it, and late night swimming, and the atmosphere of late summer turning into autumn.
That’s how At the Water’s Edge was born. But I had to wait until I’d finished writing a whole lot more words of French Kissing to begin. So the story had time to grow in the back of my brain, percolate, and then, when the time came, I wrote the first draft in seven weeks. It just poured out. Because the story needed to be told. I needed to write these sentences that dealt with depression and suicide attempts and guilt and (oh so much) shame.
And now, here it is. As I said before, this book is not erotica. This doesn’t mean there are no hot scenes (I can’t help myself), but if you’re looking to get aroused, this is probably not the book you want to read. 😉 That being said, this book is not a massive tearjerker either. It contains a clear message of hope, redemption, forgiveness and love. It’s also as close to baring my soul on the page as I have ever come.
Like Ella, I have gone through a journey, and have come out on the other side. Writing this book was my journey. I wrote the shame off me and for that, I’m so so proud of it.
Special thanks to my wife (as always) (also for designing the perfect cover for this book!), to Cheyenne Blue who did a stellar job editing (and named me the Queen of Redundancies), and to my beta-reader Maria, with whom I discussed this book at length, and who has become such a close friend in the process.
A while ago I said on Facebook that I may or may not record myself reading the first chapter from At the Water’s Edge. I then decided that just reading from the book might be a bit boring and not adding a lot of value. So, I’ve decided to do something else instead to celebrate the release. Ask me any question (within the boundaries of common decency!) and I’ll record myself replying to it. You can ask your question in the comments, on Twitter, on Facebook, or via e-mail at harperbliss at gmail dot com.
Here’s the blurb:
After a traumatic event that has left her in deep need of healing, Ella Goodman returns to her hometown in Oregon. While staying at her family’s cabin at the West Waters lake resort, she finds an unexpected friend in level-headed owner Kay Brody. But Ella’s sole objective is to restore the broken ties with her family, and she has no time for distractions like falling in love. The healing process is confrontational and difficult though, and she is soon forced to realize that people like Kay only come along once in a lifetime.