Chasing Secrets, the third book in the Bailey Baxter series, will release next month.
I am so excited to share this story with you all. To be honest with you, I never really intended to write an entire series about Bailey and her friends. In fact, I had planned to end her story at Camp Golden Meadows, where she was in love and happy. But as we all know from experience, life doesn’t work that way. Life has a way of sneaking up on us and throwing us a curveball just when we think we know what to expect. That’s kind of what happened to me.
In mid October 2013, I was introduced to a writing contest called NaNoWriMo. The challenge was to write an entire draft in 30 days. 50,000 words. Now, if you know me, you know I like challenging myself… so that’s exactly what I decided to do. The problem was… I only had two weeks to map my whole novel out before the challenge began. You can bet I got started right away. With no time to lose, I began brainstorming ideas for a new novel. I had the perfect character in mind.
His name was Ian Garrett.
He was a gifted student, a smart kid who had suddenly been dealt a bad hand in life. I wanted him to be angry and misunderstood. In my imagination, he hid behind an intimidating scowl and wore a black leather jacket. And wherever he went, he carried his Thermos of coffee and an even bigger chip on his shoulder.
I had planned to write a riches to rags redemption story.
After all, I had a good protagonist. And I had a pretty decent plot line in mind. But dreaming up a cast of supporting characters and developing them would take months. All I had was a few days. In the midst of my freaking-out, someone gave me the perfect piece of advice.
“Don’t force it. Just write what you know.”
That’s when I decided to write my new character into their story, and that’s how Bailey Baxter got another book. Instead of building a cast of characters for Ian, I thought it might be fun to throw him into their lives and see what happened.
And it worked.
It more than worked.
The plot took off like a fast bike and led me on an even more thrilling adventure than I could have expected. Chasing Secrets is the most exciting draft I’ve ever written. These characters just came alive as the story unfolded in ways I didn’t even plan. As if I were reading it instead of writing it, it was so easy to get caught up in their world.
In fact, I finished drafting the first 58K words in twenty-six days.
As you can imagine, the first draft was a such a mess. However, over the past two years, I’ve worked very hard to edit and revise it by adding scenes and developing the plot and character relationships.
The biggest change came the day before I started the draft. Ian Garrett quickly became Liam Garrett. It’s a funny story of how his name got changed. My writing buddy, Shannon, accidentally called him Liam during one of our chats, and I liked it. I looked up the name to discover it meant “strong-willed warrior” and decided that the name fit my character perfectly.
Chasing Secrets is very different than the first two books in the series. While the bulk of the story is written in Bailey’s voice and from her perspective, parts of it are written from Liam’s POV, giving you insight into his side of the story as well.
Like I said before, I can’t wait to share the next chapter in Bailey’s story with you. And I hope that while reading it, you find yourself on the same adventurous ride that I enjoyed while writing it for you.
Keep an eye on my Facebook page for a sneak peek at the back cover of the book!