My edginess, where it came to this book, was why I had waited so long. I have mentioned that it took finding the right image for the hero, who had so long been in my imagination. It took something more-- my recognition that win or lose, the book deserved its chance. Books come from so many things. They aren't just created out of the writer but out a whole host of experiences, people, and yes the muses (which might not be the same through a creator's lifetime). I decided I could not stand in its way out of my own fears. This book deserved its chance, these characters deserved their chance, this story of the Oregon Trail deserved its.
This might be hard to understand, but, as I see it, the story is always more than the writer. Once an artist creates something, painting, photograph, poem, it has an existence also. I don't mean I see it as human, but it is real. I had created a story that had a right to be seen-- rejected or liked.
There are writers where every single book goes into the stratosphere, as they have street teams and fans eager to read every word they write. I am not in that league. I have no street team. It's not that I'd object to giving out a lot of copies ahead of a book's release for reviews. It's that I don't know who would even want them. In view of that, I did all I knew in the way of getting the word out to those most likely to want such a book. Previously, I had joined two writer/reader groups oriented to the type of book I write. It's not easy for me to go out with a blurb, but I did it. I tweeted, blogged, commented, and posted everywhere I had the right.
When the book came out the 21st, I started editing the book which will come next (Where Dreams Go will be out June 21st). It takes the story of some of these characters farther into Oregon's development as a Territory on its way to statehood. Communities were growing into towns and the people were trying to decide what they wanted them to look like. Working on it was a way to distract myself from worrying about how Matt and Amy were being seen by readers.
With happiness, from the start, the sales were the best of any of my books since I stopped offering them for free days. The only one that had come close was Arizona Sunset. Now these results weren't the spectacular ones of some authors, but for me, they were good. Book One was not immediately falling into Amazon's black hole.
Then I became uneasy when no reviews showed up. Now, I've had some books that never got a review... not one. But I was hoping that this one would get a few. Reviews are supposed to be for the readers, but they mean an awful lot to writers-- even those who have had a ton of them. For me, it would be my first chance to see how readers felt about a book that probably is as dear to me as any I ever wrote-- given the length of time it's been in my life.
Then the first review showed up. Nervously I looked down to read it.
"This is my first experience in reading one of Ms. Trueax's books and I wasn't disappointed. The story was exciting and never got boring. Amy and her family were traveling to Oregon along with Matt, his brother Morey, and father. It was a large wagon train so the storyline had many characters. I just loved St. Louis the Wagonmaster. He was the salt of the earth with so much experience in leading and understanding people. St. Louis had healing experience which was invaluable to those who traveled with him. I've never read a book like this with so many avenues that kept me fascinated. Amy and Matt were lifelong friends but he started feeling more than mere friendship. Amy actually began being courted by Adam, the Wagontrain Scout, but found out "the feeling" just wasn't there and soon realized her love for Matt was more than being a friend. Matt's brother, Morey, was disturbing in this book and led to the violence in Matt's life. The father was also part of the lies and deception that led Morey to hate his brother, Matt. I don't want to spoil this story for you so I won't go on. However, if you want an exciting, adventuresome and mysterious book, this historical western genre is for you. There is some violence and sexual content but the author did a great job in making all actions part of the story itself. I loved it!"Wow, I was so happy-- a new reader and she loved the book. She saw the things I had hoped others would see in it. I've read how some resent it when a writer calls their book their baby, but it does feel like you sent off your kid into the world, hoping the world will appreciate all their qualities but worried it won't work out that way.
After that, there was another review from a longtime reader. Again I hoped the reader had liked it. Nobody wants to disappoint those who have been reading all you wrote.
"Rain Trueax is at her best from the first sentence. Each phase of the plot and characters are richly developed.Her in depth review doubled my happiness. I never know what people will think of my work until they tell me through an email, comment somewhere, or best of all, a review. Writing is pretty much a lonely game, but promoting and talking to readers about what they thought, that's where it becomes less so. This was a book that I knew some might not know what to think. So the fact that it got a pretty good launch made my week brighter.
The Oregon Trail experience, physically and mentally grueling, either built character in the hero Matt or caused dangerous psychopathic mental breakdown in Matt's brother Morey. The wagon master St. Louis Jones' experience went beyond previous trips on the Oregon Trail. He had lived with Indians and trappers. He had a depth of understanding of humanity. He was a believable mentor for Matt's amazing growth. Through him Trueax revealed insights to the Indian and emigrants' points of view and their conflicting interests. Obviously Trueax's writing reveals extensive research with exact details of folk and Indian medicine, cooking, weapons, and geography. On fly fishing I thought didn't exist until after the civil war but I was wrong and Trueax was correct to have dry flies and a bamboo rod. I am eager to read more of the series to find out if Loraine finds her true love and the destiny of Scout Adam Stone. Will they eventually get together?"
The map at the top was drawn years ago by my archaeologist daughter when she was still in college. She gave it to me as a gift because she knew I had been writing this book. I appreciated it then and now when I can finally share it with others.