Oh, brother, where to start?
Many years ago, I realized I had a narcissist in my life and began studying narcissism to understand how to deal with said person. I found an old cassette tape with a couple of songs my brother’s band had recorded. One song was called Rusted Wings That Angels Wear (Rusted Wings for short). The lyrics were very specific to the brother who wrote the song, but I was intrigued with the concept behind the title.
Humans are duplicitous. We wear a face for the public and another for our private lives. Most of the time the differences aren’t that extreme, but I wanted to explore a family situation in which they were. Enter a narcissistic father and a sociopathic daughter.
I found myself in a coffee shop with a pen and a notebook, brainstorming an idea where the father pins the murder of his lover on his jealous daughter. I wrote a note to myself: am I good enough of a writer to pull this off?
The story changed and I began writing. It was an awful mess. I sent it to an editor. She was harsh—which was what I needed—but after that editor letter, I knew I wasn’t even close to what I wanted from the story.
I spent the next few years revising it until I had a better story, sent it to a beta reader and thought of shopping around to agents but decided to do #PitMad on Twitter instead. I had no expectations as I’ve found pitch contests on social media…odd, but I did get some agent interest. In the end, it was a pass for them.
I tightened it up again, not 100% satisfied with what I had and got ready to self-publish it — which was my intention for this book all along. I titled the book after the song Rusted Wings That Angels Wear. The names of my characters were chosen to symbolize the angel theme I was going for. Except for Christa, all names were pulled from the Bible. The beta reader suggested the title sounded too literary and suggested Daddy’s Girl. I was reluctant to use that particular title because of the erotic intonations, but I ended up listening to someone else instead of trusting my gut. After publishing it and seeing it lumped together in the also-boughts with erotica titles on Amazon, I knew I had made a mistake. The book sank to the bottom very fast.
Fast forward a few years, feeling frustrated and suffering from severe burnout, I unpublished everything and sat in limbo while my brain recovered. Little by little, I had seen the mistakes I made on my publishing journey and began rebuilding my career on my terms, trusting my instincts instead of listening to others so much.
I revised Daddy’s Girl, sent it out to a different editor, and made some of the changes she suggested and finally felt I had the story I had always wanted. After changing the title to something more appropriate, The Good Daughter, I republished it.
I love this book because the characters are such despicable human beings and I love having an unreliable narrator. In some ways, it does have personal meaning to me, but not all secrets are meant to be shared. I consider this one of my favorite books. Now, go out and make it one of your favorites. Although it is technically a young adult psychological thriller, it does have cross-over appeal, so if you’re an adult who reads YA, it should appeal to you.