Baking championships are popular right now. What’s a baking championship?

A motley assortment of bakers gather to battle it out with flour and sugar in order to win the glory. And the stakes are high. Kitchen-dabblers who normally take their sweet time baking at home race the clock to create jaw-dropping dessert masterpieces to present before a panel of critical judges. Overcook their macaroons, and they’re out of the competition!

Sound stressful? Yet, win or lose, competitors list their moments of heart-pounding, head-spinning competition the best baking experiences of their lives. Why?

Being “in it to win it” is an emotional high. The surge of excitement. The pride of accomplishment from pushing self beyond what previously imagined. What a victory!

Being “in it to win it”—100 percent immersed with the creative juices flowing—this is the reason why Sent Rising was my favorite book to write.  Because the stakes were high. Fail on this the third and final installment of my trilogy, and I’d fail at being published. And the clock was ticking.

I’d spent two years slowly crafting my first book, Dove Strong. I’d written Fanatic Surviving in a year and a half. My contract with Pelican Book Group hinged on the completion of the Dove Strong Trilogy, namely my third book, Sent Rising. A manuscript I hadn’t yet begun.

I gulped. I glanced at my 40-page outline. “I’ll have it to you in, uh, five months?” I queried to the publisher. “No, better give me six…to be on the safe side.”

It took me seven months. Seven months of living, breathing, sleeping, and eating with Dove Strong in her final adventure. With my imagination soaring at a level I’d never experienced, I plunged headfirst into this writing challenge, shoving my other real-life activities to the back burner in order to finish.

The stakes were high. And the writing experience was amazing.

I love this final story. I love that Sent Rising’s scenes are the most vivid, the characters’ personalities realer, and in the end, the pieces come together.

I don’t know if ever again I’ll write a manuscript under such a tight deadline and with such high stakes. But just like the bakers battling in their championships, I’m proud that I pushed myself beyond what I thought possible. What a journey.

Sent Rising. What a story.

Erin Lorence

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