My manuscript is currently with the editor (biting nails). I am simultaneously excited and petrified. There is a great feeling of relief to know that my book is in the hands of a professional. It's being polished and perfected. But I know that there are long nights of editing ahead for me. I have to face the changes. I have NO idea what the editor will say, like, dislike, cut, add... It's really a totally new experience for me.
In the mean time I have started a new Work In Progress (WIP). It's not a sequel to Fire of the Sea. That's not to say there won't be a sequel. I definitely have ideas for a second or third if I wanted to go there. But I really wanted to go in a totally different direction for my second attempt at YA. So I've taken on a little dystopian fantasy, and I am seeing where it leads me. So far, I am loving it. But I know as soon as my mermaid, Aeva, comes back from the editor, I'll be spending a lot of my time in the North Atlantic once again. And that's a place I love to be.
It's interesting what drives the need to start a new project. Sometimes it is literally a spark, or one single catalyst. But other times it's a series of (sometimes unfortunate) events. With Fire of the Sea, I had been under a lot of personal stress around the time I really dug in and started writing. The idea had been taking shape for about a year when I started to have some new and really tricky health issues. I was facing a summer of major dietary changes, lab tests, and medical procedures. I felt like staying in bed all day. I was slipping under. So I turned to my notes that I'd been collecting in the "writing" folder on my laptop and decided I would much rather spend my time someplace cool, dark, and fantastical, as opposed to too hot, too bright, distressing, and confusing (which was what that California summer unfortunately was shaping up to be).
I found that when I was writing, it flowed easily out of me. It felt comfortable and familiar. But I think my very favorite thing about taking on my first (and admittedly formidable) fantasy novel, was that even with a detailed outline, I was surprised by the story at every turn. I knew the ending. I knew the whole love story. I knew my protagonist's journey. But every time I would enter Aeva's world, there was something new and unexpected waiting for me. It was even better than reading a book for the first time. I couldn't wait to get back to the story. It literally got me through that awful summer.
I eventually came away from that difficult phase of my life with some answers regarding my health. Not ALL the answers. (I still struggle daily.) But I now had the ability to eat again, function, feel well enough to re-enter the world. And that was about the time my novel was also ready to enter the "real world."
I have no idea how long it will take me to finish my new WIP. I have a different approach this time, with beta readers following my writing progress from an earlier stage. Totally opposite of how I worked with Fire of the Sea. And while each project is different, one thing stays the same: my fantasy world still waits for me, even when I have walked away for a day, week, month. It pulls at me, calling me back in. And that feeling keeps me writing!
I thought it would be fun to include a brief excerpt from Fire of the Sea. I am not sure if I am allowed to do this... but this is pre-official-editing. So I suppose it's alright. And of course this is all subject to change. This section might be totally different in the final version.
In this scene, Aeva, an eighteen-year-old modern-day Icelandic mermaid (from an old-school underwater world), has risked a trip to the surface, close to Iceland's dark shore. A small plane has just crashed into the ocean...but something else has fallen into the water, just in front of her. Here is what she sees when she dives under to survey the scene:
In the deepening blue below, what appeared to be an enormous jellyfish was descending slowly and steadily. A white dome with long, trailing tentacles hung in the agitated water, the top still clinging desperately to the surface.
I cautioned closer.
Reaching out, my fingers brushed the edges of the ghostly form. Fabric. I’d read about this tight weave used in human clothing and ship sails. But I’d never seen it in such abundance, much less touched it. White strings were connected to the edges, twisted together in roping strands.
My gold hair whirled in front of my face as I paused to make sense of what hovered before me. This wasn't a jellyfish at all. I whipped my head around for clarity. And then I saw him.
A human. Young, probably my age. And he was entangled at the center of the now collapsing net of fabric and rope, attached by a bundle strapped to his back and shoulders. He sank deeper and deeper in a slow motion descent, as the last of the plume slipped below the surface. His head was bowed, but his body wasn’t completely limp. He struggled, jerking sluggishly. Was he giving up? Why didn’t he remove the pack?
It took me a moment to tear myself away from the fascination. Somehow, I managed to recall that a human couldn’t hold air in their lungs for very long underwater. They would lose strength in the sea, not gain it. He was drowning.
So there you have it for now. Hopefully I'll have more and more updates as things progress with the editing and cover art! I've also got a book trailer on my docket. So things are getting exciting.
As always, thanks for following along!