The Creation Of ‘I Love You To Death’
by Natalie Ward
I’m always surprised when people ask how I became an author, because honestly, I don’t really think of myself that way. To me, I’m just somebody who loves to read and write, someone who has a crazy imagination, doesn’t get enough sleep and figures writing all this stuff down might be a good idea. That’s how all of my story ideas have come about, a random thought that hits me and gets me thinking. Once that happens, I just go with it, imagining dialogue, back story, scenes, all the while writing it down as fast as I can. It’s not particularly convenient or easy, because it tends to come at me from all over the place and so far, has always been out of order. Sometimes scenes that seem to belong together suddenly won’t, and sometimes it stops altogether. But whenever I get a new idea I just write it down and hope that one day it all fits together. Basically, I wing it. It’s probably not the best way to write and not something I’d suggest, but I’ve tried plotting and outlining, but for me, it doesn’t work. So I go with was does.
What inspired me to write ILYTD was one single thought. What if you thought you were responsible for the death of everyone you loved? That idea first appeared to me as Sam’s letter to Ash and when I wrote that down, out poured their entire relationship. I didn’t know how the story would progress or what had even happened to Sam, I just wrote it down as it came to me. Not long after, I was making a mixed tape for a friend and Luke suddenly appeared. Once I got him, the rest of the story took shape and after countless rearrangements, deletions, new scenes, reworked scenes and 3 months of writer’s block, I finally got the story finished. I’ll admit, I also have a morbid fascination with death and I think that’s also what inspired this story. I was interested in the different stages of grief. I wanted to know what it would do to someone if you had to go through it over and over again. How much it would destroy you and how you could possibly come back from it?
I’ve had friends read my book who have come back to me saying “oh Natalie, I didn’t realize you were such a romantic?”…yeah because clearly that cold-hearted bitch vibe I give off means most people don’t see this side of me. But deep down I am and when I thought about it, I realized that there are also different stages of love. And to me, putting love and grief together seemed logical, because although they are polar opposites of each other, they both elicit incredibly strong emotions, and it was this contrast that I wanted to show in ILYTD.
I guess you would call the book a romance novel, even though it is dark and it is depressing. I didn’t specifically set out to write in any genre. What I like, to both read and write, are stories that are outside the box, that get you thinking, that push boundaries. I don’t know if ILYTD does that or just plunges you into depressed, alcoholic puddle on the floor, but they say you should write what you want to read, so that’s what I tried to do.
So how did I end up becoming an “author” given I still have 15 unfinished stories on my computer? Well, probably the biggest kick in the butt came when I met a real life published author. She had 2 books out and a 3rd on the way. I was talking to her about writing and how she came to publishing and she turned to me and said, “just finish something, anything, just to prove to yourself that you can.” Alongside “just write”, this was the best piece of advice I’d ever been given. It forced me to stop worrying about what I was writing or what I wanted to do with it, and just write. Because it’s true, it’s so much easier to edit crap than a blank page and it’s never going to go anywhere if it isn’t finished. So I did exactly what she told me and once it was done, I felt relieved, relieved that I could actually finish something. That is, until I realized I then had to show it to someone. And let me tell you, that was the scariest part of all.
I feel blown away by how the book has done, so much better than I ever thought it would, which was basically languishing in a dark corner on Goodreads, reviewed by friends and family out of obligation because I’d given them a free copy. Thankfully that didn’t happen. Instead 2 amazing book blogs (Natasha is a Book Junkie & Totally Booked) asked for early copies. After I threw up a bit, I gave it to them and was speechless at the fabulous reviews they gave it. It then just took off from there. The entire process has been an amazing learning experience, not just about writing and publishing a book, but also about myself. The opportunities that have come out of doing this are unbelievable, but without a doubt the greatest part of all, is all the fabulous people I have met. That to me, has made all the scary shit worth it.
Thanks Natalie! I’m currently reading this lovely book, although a book I had to read for review stole some reading time, I’m back on it!
ALTERNATIVELY, BUY IT HERE
The Book Description:
When Ash loses her boyfriend, she is consumed by grief, loneliness, and an overwhelming sense of guilt for her role in not only his death, but the deaths of everyone she has ever loved. Refusing to let anyone in for fear of losing them too, she becomes withdrawn, spending her days reliving the nightmares from her past. Until she meets Luke. Initially scared by his intensity and interest in her, Ash tries to push him away. But as Luke slowly starts to chip away at the walls she’s built, Ash finds herself doing the one thing she swore she’d never do again – falling in love. When the familiar feelings Ash had hoped were long buried with her past begin to resurface, she is forced to ask herself if falling in love again is really worth the risk.
Hey – welcome, thanks for stopping by! What can I tell you about me? I’m a seriously avid reader and probably get way too invested in stories and characters. Have been known to go without sleep just so I can finish a book. I also obviously enjoy writing them, but we’ll see how that all pans out!
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* If you don’t already know this, and you enjoyed this book, I write New Adult fiction, too. Except mine has fang and fur in it! To find out more, check out my book page and find out if it’s something you think you’d like to read. It’s now available on Kindle and NOOK, with other platforms coming soon.