I'm releasing Sand into Glass on May 6th. I'm a little amazed that I finally completed it, given what I've been through in the last two years, but finishing this book became therapeutic for me. I had to experience my own PTSD and depression in order to understand Arden's. The triggers for our illnesses were much different, but the thoughts and physical symptoms he and I experienced were similar. I realized when I finished the first draft that there was no way I could have written the last quarter of the book if I hadn't walked through the darkness myself.
Mental illness turns you into a liar and forces you to fake being a functional person. Some days it's impossible to fake your way through life, especially the days when depression renders it laborious to breathe and it becomes overwhelming to think through the steps it takes to make a peanut butter sandwich or pour a glass of orange juice. It's a horrible thing to go through, waking up to the feeling that whatever you used to be is dead and your soul has been replaced by a wraith. Basic tasks become overwhelming and exhausting.
I wish I hadn't needed to trudge through my own personal abyss in order to understand Arden's, but my experience gave me a perspective on his situation that I never could have experienced otherwise. We both experienced the desperation of the sunlight being just out of reach no matter what we tried to climb on. We both found that even though we thought we were at the bottom, there was still a little deeper we could dig and with every level the sunlight got farther away.
I was gradually able to pull myself out of the hole my mind had dug, and once I reached the surface I found myself in a creative burst that I'm still experiencing. I finished editing and published my oldest baby, The Crystal Lattice, finished writing Sand into Glass and am about to publish it, and I'm 44,000 words into Arrow of Entropy, the final book in both the Emergence trilogy and the Malora octet.
Right now I'm giving Arden a hug because I put him through a lot. He's resilient, but even resilience has its limit. His story can be bleak, but juxtaposed against that bleakness are both love and hope. My beta readers fell in love with his story, and I hope you do, too.