AWAY has a new cover! And to celebrate, I figured I would give some background on what compelled me to write my first book, how it came to be, etc. It’s only right that my first real personal post is about my first baby.
I wrote AWAY in 2015. I started it in the spring, typing what would become the first chapter on my phone in a hotel room in Los Angeles.
It wasn’t the best year for me. It’s always weird talking about times when I wasn’t feeling my best. That’s usually what my journals are for. But at that time, journaling was hardly helping. I was very lonely, but the isolation was also intentional because I felt out of place whenever I was around most people. Now, I’ve always been a loner. Cue Mr. Solo Dolo by Kid Cudi. But I think that year, I realized how disconnected I felt to my entire environment. I really wanted to switch things up… give my whole life a change of scenery and go in a different direction, but I was still in undergrad. I already put in the years and racked up enough student loan debt, the last thing I wanted to do was drop out because I was “over it”. So, AWAY became a form of therapy for me. Creating Tamryn’s world removed me from the discomfort of mine.
To speed up the process of graduating, I took summer classes and had eighteen credits that fall semester (and 20 my final semester spring 2016 which was WILD, but that’s jumping ahead). I worked at a bank during the day, went to classes some days in the morning before work and other days in the evening after work. I was also a bartender/did bottle service at ratchet clubs on the weekends. Between work and schoolwork, I made sure I put in time on AWAY every day. I became obsessed with the story, and the story is good… but I’m sure a lot of my dedication toward it had to do with how helpful it was for me and my mental health. That’s when I realized how powerful and meaningful storytelling was to me.
I’ve always loved writing, but AWAY was my first time writing a novel and the first time I was willing to share my art with the world. I had no clue what I was doing in terms of how to actually get my book out there. So, I messaged an author I admired asking for advice, and they recommended self-publishing. Something I didn’t even know existed. I looked into it, did all the research and got myself familiar with the process and all my options. I was really only interested in the easiest and quickest way to get my book out there, lol. I finished AWAY, my mama helped me edit it, and it was released in January 2016. Just eight months after I began writing it in that hotel room in L.A.
It took me years to go back and read it too. I probably never would have if it weren’t for the pandemic. That’s because after AWAY, I put more time and practice into perfecting and learning about my craft. I released FRAGILE in 2017 and could see how my writing style and knowledge of formatting and such developed since AWAY. I knew if I went back and read it, I would want to pick it apart! It would probably spike the hell out of my anxiety and I’m not someone that goes looking for the drama lol, I needed to keep the peace within myself! But, I did want to read it… so when I finally did in 2020, it wasn’t as bad as I psyched myself out to believe it would be over the years, but I did see some changes I wanted to make. However, I saw so much more beyond the words on the pages.
For me, reading AWAY was like looking directly at who I was when it was written. It’s like when you hear an old song and it brings you right back to the time in your life when you first fell in love with it. You feel how you felt at that time. You hear more than the music. Reading AWAY, I could see how much of myself I poured into the story to combat how unhappy I was in real life. The book is not at all based on my life, but it is inspired by the desire I had to get away. I saw someone who was doing their best when all they really wanted to do was say “fuck it”. I saw someone willing to share something that means so much to her with others for the first time and mentally preparing her sensitive ass to do just that. So yeah, I wanted to clean up some formatting or re-word a couple things, but ultimately I decided I could never bring myself to do that. Changing anything in that book would be like overwriting that time in my life. Overwriting a piece of myself, who I was to become who I am. But, even though I would never go back and change anything on those pages, the old cover had to f*cking go.
I won’t get into how the old cover happened. Just know it was rushed and very minimal thought was put into it. At that time, all I cared about was the story, not so much the cosmetics. I did what I could with what I knew… and now that I know better, I’m doing better.
So, big thank you to Christopher Hicks for designing the new cover for my first baby. If you’re looking for great quality graphic design work, you can contact him via his Instagram.
And big thank you to everyone who has purchased and read AWAY over the years. Especially anyone who reached out to share their thoughts & feels on the story with me. Your support meant the world in 2016 and continues to mean the world now in 2021, 3 books later.
I hope you all love the new cover as much as I do, and I hope you enjoyed this transparency moment on how my first book was created and what was going on “behind the manuscript”. I’m easing into getting more personal on this platform. I cannot wait to share more with you! Talk soon. xo