It’s now been six days since Cabin Girl‘s release! We only have one more day in the launch tour, and I can’t believe it’s almost over. It’s been going so fast!
We’re on day six of the launch tour, with only tomorrow left to go! There are two more wonderful reviews on the schedule and you can find all of the specific information (with links) below. Then we’ll finish with the rest of the post, featuring some things I learned while writing Cabin Girl!
Let’s jump in!
Sickness. Sharks. Sabotage. Secrecy.
In the rolling hills of 1600’s Ireland, young Éirinn O’Connell learns all she can of medicine, struggling to care for her starving family—until the night Barbary pirates raid her village, and she’s dragged from the only home she’s ever known.
Set on a course to the slave markets of Morocco, and amidst a crew as turbulent as the ocean around her, Éirinn searches for a way home. But who can she trust? And how will she survive the Captain’s constant torment? Éirinn soon discovers the danger in trusting appearances and learns that it’s never too late for a second chance.
Even for the unlikeliest of people.
Launch Tour Schedule
Monday, September 18th
- Cabin Girl Release and Giveaway! (Launch Tour: Day 1)
- Book Review by S. K. Jacklyn
- Author Interview by Abbigail Raine B.
- Podcast Interview by The Wordsmith’s Edge
Tuesday, September 19th
- Why You Should Read Cabin Girl (Launch Tour: Day 2)
- Author Interview by Raina Nightingale
- Author Interview by Kate Willis
Wednesday, September 20th
Thursday, September 21st
- What Readers Are Saying About Cabin Girl (Launch Tour: Day 4)
- Character Interview (Captain Gills) by Issabelle Perry
Friday, September 22nd
- Fun and Random Facts About Cabin Girl (Launch Tour: Day 5)
- Spotlight Post by Saraina Whitney
Saturday, September 23rd
- What I’ve Learned While Writing Cabin Girl (Launch Tour: Day 6) (you are here!)
- Book Review by Elizabeth Mae Wolfram
Sunday, September 24th
- The End…and the Beginning of Cabin Girl’s Release (Launch Tour: Day 7)
- Book Review by Virginia Henderson
Through September 24th, there’s a Cabin Girl themed giveaway! You only have two more days to sign up, if you haven’t already. The winners will be contacted and announced September 25th!
Yes, there are prizes for one U.S. winner and one international winner!
Here are the prizes to be won:
U. S. Only:
- One signed paperback copy of Cabin Girl
- Two custom themed candles by Flickerwix
- Two custom bookmarks
- One 18″ golden compass necklace by Starlight by Silvie (Etsy)
- Lemon/ginger herbal tea
- One ebook copy of Cabin Girl
- Themed phone and desktop wallpapers
- Exclusive first chapter of Gills (upcoming Cabin Girl prequel novel)
Take a flip through some of the prize pictures below! (Candles and wallpapers not pictured)
Good luck and happy entering!
What I’ve Learned While Writing Cabin Girl
Cabin Girl has been in the process for a long time. In some ways, five years is a very long time to be working on one specific book. In other cases, it can be normal. But there’s no question that this book has seen me through a quite a bit of growth as a writer and even as a person.
I started working on Cabin Girl just after I turned sixteen. I’ve now just turned twenty-one. A lot happens in life between those ages, and I’ve been consistently working on this story throughout those years. Naturally, as I’ve grown and learned more about life and writing, the story has grown with me.
And with that growth has come many, many lessons. About being a good person. About being a Christian. About writing. About publishing. About friendship. God’s taught me a lot through the process of writing Cabin Girl.
Today, I wanted to share some of those lessons that I’ve learned. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
Value of Research
Maybe you’ve heard me talk about this before, but my first draft of Cabin Girl was done with next to no research. I relied only on the pirate stereotypes I’d seen in movies, and guessed at the rest. The only thing I did look into were the Barbary pirates, but just enough to gain a vague idea of what they were.
After repeated comments about how my plot and characters didn’t seem very realistic, I spent a month diving into the world of pirates for research, and I think the story is so much better for it. It’s crazy how much of a difference a few small, but well-placed facts can add to the realism.
Cabin Girl isn’t as much of a stickler for historical accuracy as some historical fiction, even pirate fiction, but it’s so much better than before. Now you can really feel that you’re in those settings. I definitely learned how valuable research is to creating a truly immersive story, and wish I would have started there.
In a technical sense, I’ve learned so much about descriptions through writing this book. Descriptions don’t come naturally to me. I don’t effortlessly have a beautiful and flowing descriptive voice while writing, and I tend to forget that others can’t see the vivid imaginings in my mind and know exactly what the settings in my book are like. Unless I help them.
Short of developing the story itself, I’ve spent the most time and effort making my descriptions better. I’ve read books, blog posts, asked for help, and practiced over and over again until I found sentences that described my scenes the best. Good descriptions still don’t come effortlessly for me, but I have improved, and hopefully will continue to!
Throughout the process of Cabin Girl, editing has taken the most time by far. The last three years have all been edits, not drafting or rewrites. It’s normal for editing to take quite a while, but I started off by doing things all wrong and out of order. Immediately after finishing the first draft, I went through and edited out all of the typos, sentence errors, and grammatical mistakes. It took me quite a while to do too.
But what was the use in that when right afterward I found massive plot holes and ended up rewriting the entire book from scratch (twice)? All of that time and effort could have been saved if I’d waited and followed the right editing steps. I needed to fix the big things first and work my way downward.
Thankfully, I learned quickly that I needed to change my process, and again spent significant time learning more efficient ways of editing. Editing is still my least favorite part of writing, but I know that I’ll be able to do a better and speedier job on my next book, with all of the things I’ve learned from this one.
In a similar vein of thought, I’ve learned how to better separate my editing from my writing. I have a bad habit of getting too perfectionist when I write my first drafts and easily get carried away editing while I write. But while trying to let my brain flow freely and write whatever comes to mind for the story, is a bad time to be backspacing constantly and trying to fix my funky sentences. There’s a time and place.
Now, when I write, I keep reminding myself that I have permission to write badly at first. Some people can edit while they write and it doesn’t slow them down or hinder their work. I’m clearly not one of those people. And that’s okay! I’ve found that the better I can just keep writing, and not look back or reread my work until I’m done, the better it goes.
When I draft my books now, I keep a list next to me. And that’s where I make note of all of the things that I know will have to be fixed when I go back to edit. Not usually things like typos or weird sentences, but definitely things I know I’ll need to research, a phrase I want to change, a plot hole I know will need to be addressed back at the beginning, etc. It’s helped me to realize that yes, there are mistakes, but it’s okay because I’m keeping track of them, and that list will be there for reference when it’s time to edit.
I’ve learned a lot about indie publishing through writing Cabin Girl. In fact, when I first started writing this book, I didn’t even know indie publishing as it is existed. I knew you could self-publish books, yes. But in my mind, that meant bad quality, “no one else will publish you” stories. I was so wrong!
Obviously there can be those kinds of stories self-published. But there are stories traditionally published that aren’t great too. They’re just two different methods of getting your story out into the world. And as I quickly learned, indie publishing is a good fit for my writing career, especially at this point in my life.
I enjoy keeping all of my creative rights, and getting a say in every aspect of my books. That doesn’t mean I’m doing everything by myself (I hired a cover designer, for example), but it does mean that I have the ultimate say on decisions made, and I can keep my book true to my vision. I can also learn new skills and do the parts of it that I’m able (ex. I do my own formatting). Right now, it’s a great method for me!
And with all of these things that I’ve learned, one stands out to me as arguably the most important. I’ve gratefully learned how much of a community surrounds books, reading, writing, and indie publishing. From the very start, when I first launched my website and started blogging, I met so many amazing, supportive people that were quick to welcome me and start interacting with my work.
That’s only increased as I’ve branched out into more platforms. I’ve been so blessed by each and every person that continues to interact with me and help me on my publishing journey. Whether that’s through beta-reading, brainstorming, sharing my posts, commenting, purchasing books, reviewing, or just being an encouraging voice through it all, I would definitely not be at this point without you all!
And it’s that community, along with the other things I have learned and will keep learning, that makes me look forward to continuing to publish. It’s been my dream for years to be able to do this kind of thing, and I can’t believe I’m actually here. Thank you for all you’ve done to help along the way! You are prayed for, extremely appreciated, and wonderful human beings!
I look forward to continuing on this journey with you.