I did it. I finally did it.
The idea came to me almost twenty years ago when I got lost inside Harrods. I remember wandering around the sumptuous confectionery wishing I had the whole store to myself.
And now, after eight years of writing, revising, querying, two agents, and countless submissions, I've made the decision to make this dream come true on my own.
I'm self publishing NIGHT SHIFT!!!!!!
Having published three books the traditional route, (with a fourth out this July, DIADEM OF DEATH) and the wonderful support from Wattpad readers, I knew this was the best time for me to take the plunge into self publishing.
The first thing I did was contact the editor who had worked on my other books—lucky for me she was available. Next, I hired the artist who had done the cover for ASP OF ASCENSION. Emma Dolan was able to give NIGHT SHIFT a slick new look.
Here's a little bit about the book:
At Willard's department store, none of the night security guards survive for long, and eighteen-year-old Daniel Gale is about to discover why.
Tired of endless hotels and living out of his backpack, he ignores the clerk's gossip about the old building being haunted and takes the job as the newest night guard. On his first shift, Daniel narrowly escapes a fatal drop down the elevator shaft, and is rescued by Mary, a bossy and intriguing girl who is far too beautiful for after hours inventory.
Anticipating every night shift as a chance to be with her, Daniel thinks his traveling days are over hoping that New York City is the place to call home. But as his life becomes more entwined with Willard's, Daniel senses unnatural changes and bizarre coincidences, both with Mary and the store itself. Soon he suspects Willard's is hiding something more sinister than gossip about ghosts—something that could make him the next casualty of the NIGHT SHIFT.
Emma Dolan was able to come up with this design simply from the query letter. She has no idea how intuitive she is! I love the colour scheme and of course the one tiny light on at the top.
Check out NIGHT SHIFT's inspiration board on Pinterest here.Add it on Goodreads here.
Here's a sneak peek. Enjoy!
he gray-haired security guard narrowed his eyes, taking in Daniel’s faded pea coat over the hoodie, and his worn out backpack. Months of travelling had left its mark; his clothes were dingy, he hadn’t shaved in a few days, and even his skin was pale and tired-looking.
Daniel caught his reflection in one of the video monitors that lined the opposite wall, tracking all the movements inside Willard’s department store. No one from school would recognize the zombie he’d become.
The man’s wrinkled fingers drummed on the antique wooden desk beside Daniel’s pathetic, half-page resume. “You left the education section blank,” he said curtly.
“I’m a few credits short of graduating from high school.” A few plus some more, Daniel thought to himself. Then he added quickly, “I’m hoping to finish by correspondence in the next few months.” A lie. A diploma was the last thing on his “to do” list.
“You dropped out?”
“No.” Daniel’s cheeks grew warm. He faked a cough, hoping to disguise the blush. He hadn’t anticipated having to explain his circumstances. “I just didn’t finish the last semester.”
“Any trouble with the law?”
“You can call me Mr. Oliver,” he instructed. His eyes barely stayed on Daniel before his attention returned to the paper.
“Okay…” There was an uncomfortable pause, then he added, “Mr. Oliver.”
“Daniel Gale,” he read, his finger going over the resume as if reading it by brail. “Not a very common name.”
Daniel stayed quiet, unsure how to respond. He didn’t think his name was all that special.
The questions started again. “You’re a long way from home. Why?”
“I’m eighteen,” Daniel answered, slightly put out by the insinuation he was a helpless kid. “I’ve been travelling.”
“But not anymore?” One white eyebrow arched, but Mr. Oliver didn’t look up.
Daniel was struck by a heavy gloom. He needed this job; it was his last hope.
The thought of getting on another plane made him sick. Long ago, he’d made a game of trying to guess which of his fellow passengers had someone waiting for them. A woman with an infant would more than likely be embraced by anxious grandparents, waving a new teddy bear. The middle-aged man wearing a baseball cap was always picked up by his brother or sister. And the girl who checked her makeup just before the plane landed was meeting a boyfriend.
But there was never anyone waiting for Daniel.
Before he could put a spin on his situation, Mr. Oliver spoke again. “Next of kin is your lawyer.” It wasn’t a question, but he paused, waiting for an explanation.
“My parents are, um…gone.” Daniel looked down at his scuffed loafers, taken from his father’s closet the day he left home.
“Ever work in a department store?” Mr. Oliver asked. Clearly, the fact that Daniel was on his own didn’t concern or interest him. Daniel guessed if he’d been purposely going for the sympathy angle, it wouldn’t have worked on this tough crank.
“No,” he answered.
“Any experience with security?”
“How long have you lived in the city?” he asked suspiciously, as if trying to catch Daniel in a lie.
“Just arrived.” Daniel felt like he was in his school’s state hockey championship all over again, but this time, every slap shot was missing the net. His fingers slipped inside his jacket pocket and found the small round object. He managed a half smile—feeling the Magic 8 Ball keychain always made him relax.
“I see,” Mr. Oliver said, studying him. He smoothed out his royal blue tie, letting his fingers pause at the golden W on the clip.
Daniel squirmed, making the wooden chair squeak.
“Do you believe in ghosts?”
He cocked his head to one side, unsure if he’d heard correctly. “Um, ghosts?” Daniel didn’t dare crack a joke; in fact, the old guy was creeping him out. Why was it important for a night security guard to believe in ghosts? He shifted his weight in the chair again, trying to buy time to think. He was totally unprepared for this interview. The silence grew painfully long; he had to say something. Daniel took a deep breath. He knew all about the finality of death. “No,” he said. “I don’t believe in ghosts.”
“Good. Willard’s has a bit of a reputation—unfortunately. The store goes through a lot of night guards.”
“Oh,” Daniel said. His gaze flicked around the room, wondering if there was a hidden camera on him. Maybe this was some psychological component of the interview? “Excuse me, but by ‘go through,’ what do you mean?”
“Oh,” Daniel said again.
Mr. Oliver folded his hands on the green blotter and stared back. “Why do you want to work here?”
Daniel’s fist squeezed the keychain inside his pocket. He met Mr. Oliver’s gaze and told him the truth. “Because it’s just what I need.”
Mr. Oliver let out a long breath, and then added Daniel’s thin resume to a pile of more substantial hopefuls, making the outcome of this disastrous interview obvious. Daniel’s last bit of hope faded, and the disappointment weighed on him like a wet blanket.
“Thank you for your interest in Willard’s,” Mr. Oliver said, nodding toward the door. “Come to the office tomorrow, half an hour before the store closes. We’ll get you fitted for a uniform.”
Daniel almost fell out of the chair. “I got the job?”
“Don’t be late,” he said, then paused, and his voice dropped a few notes. “Daniel Gale.”
“I won’t. Thank you!” Daniel was stunned for a moment, unable to move. Mr. Oliver frowned at him, and then motioned impatiently to the door again.
Daniel left the security office, shouldering his backpack, suddenly giddy with his change in luck. He leaned against a long glass counter and grinned. He was finally getting closer to finding an answer.