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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chicken's birthday, a new release, and what the two have in common

Original Cover
Okay--

So Chicken is nineteen, and I've been a little absent on the net, because, well, birthday.  I managed to get one picture of the elusive Chicken-- I talked her into coming with me as I went to purchase birthday pie, and she dressed as a slacking teenager.  That's my sweater, by the way-- and that's an entire other story!

So anyway-- Chicken is nineteen, but it wasn't so long ago that she was twelve, and that's when my story about my story begins.

Chicken, at 19
See, I've been publishing my writing since February, 2005-- that's almost nine years.  And the first thing I put out was Vulnerable.  So  Chicken has been watching me write stories since she was very small-- and she and Big T were very aware that they were too young for mommy's books.  So, after three Little Goddess books, Chicken and Big T were 12 and 14, and I promised I'd write books they could read.

I both failed and succeeded.

See, when I started, I had the idea of the superhero in an epic fantasy setting, and I loved it.  But I wanted more than just the rich, handsome Duke of Earl or whatever-- I wanted to see what made this guy tick, so I started with the Seminal Event that began this schism in his personality-- the thing that made him two people.

New, Pretty Cover
I pretty much wrote the exact books I wanted to-- but as I wrote, concepts that seemed so very normal in my head began to seem really frightening for middle school students.  Now, I'm not even talking about the sex (although, of ALL things, during the re-edit of these stories, I was just asked to intensify one of the sex scenes in the next story, which sort of blows my mind.)  What I'm talking about is the idea of genocide.  Of mass murder. Of the government as bullies.

Remember, this was before the terrible events in Annoka-Hennepin, when those of us in the U.S. realized that our government was literally bullying kids to death, so in a way I was naive.

But I was also pretty dedicated to the story, so I kept writing.

And I was right to do so.  In the past couple of years, Elizabeth North, the CEO of Dreamspinner Press has made YA novels a concentration-- she's developed a Young Adult imprint of Dreamspinner, Harmony Ink Press.  When she put together this secondary company, she did her homework, and asked the Young Adult Librarians specifically, what made a YA book.

The answer?

Young. Adults.  (Shocking, I know.)

And when she told me this, I realized that I'd sort of known this.  I'd been getting book reports, for heaven's sake-- and what were my kids reading?  Ellen Hopkins, David Levithan, Sarah Dessen, Scott Westerfield, Holly Black, Robert Cormier, and Laurie Halse Anderson.  These guys deal with some pretty serious subjects.  Drug abuse, broken families, death, disaster, dystopia-- you name it, they've written about it.

They have even *gasp* written about sex.  The standard for Young Adult books and sex is simply that the sex has to drive character or story, and it can't dwell too much on the intimate details.

Well, oddly enough, that's what I wrote.  I wrote a book that an adult could enjoy (and several have) but that pared back (apparently a little too much even) on the sex.  The fact that there were boys having the sex (in some parts) was not a factor.

So, yes, Young Adult Books for Young Adults.  But not any Young Adults.

My Young Adults.

If you read the blurb, you will see that Torrant and Yarri are (by the time this book is done) our central players.  (All four books add up to nearly 500,000 words-- there's going to be more than two central players!)  You will also see some vague references to the "Moon Family in Clough."

Okay, let me be absolutely transparent (for those who weren't here when this was happening.)  The "Moon Family in Clough" is MY FAMILY in Clough.

These books were started shortly after Squish was born, and Chicken had just turned 12.  When we first see Bethen Moon, she is very pregnant, and her sturdy child Roes is at her side.    At the end of the bulk of the action, Squish's character is fourteen.  At the end of the epilog, she is a woman grown, with grandchildren.

So, while I was plotting something sort of delicate and all encompassing, I was also imagining my family growing up.  It was both an amazing and a terrifying experience, and in some ways, I was both very very wrong and very very right about who they would be.  (Zoomboy, for instance, is not a "pervert wastrel" as his counterpart, Cwyn "Terror" Moon, was in the story.  But he does give his teachers fits, he is terrifyingly bright, and the places his mind goes are not always predictable.)  While I was writing the second book, my students got into the act.  I was writing something aimed at high school aged kids-- I was very comfortable putting them in the book if they asked.  Now some of you know the story of Marv and Jino, and I won't go into it here, but this had some unexpectedly poignant results, and including my students is something I will never regret.

So these books-- well, close to my heart is an inadequate way of putting it.

When I discovered that Harmony Ink Press prints not just M/M romance, but all shades of the LGBTQ rainbow, and not just romance either, I thought, "Hey!  These books came out and only my loyal faithful fans and friends read them.  Maybe they can get another chance to be read." I suggested to Elizabeth and Nessa (who runs the Harmony Ink division) that these books might work for Harmony Ink when we were all in Chicago, and I thought that maybe, maybe, they'd be out in 2014.  I had no idea they'd be out so soon.

I'm thrilled.

The books were (as I've said) divided into four books reasonably large books instead of two GINORMOUS books, they were re-edited, and tomorrow, the first one begins it's re-release.

Next week, Ethan in Gold will be out, and I will throw a frickin' party, because Ethan was a tough write, and I loved it, and I think a lot of people are excited to hear that he's on his way.

But tomorrow, Triane's Son Rising is coming out, and even though this is the second time out of the box, I still think it should get some confetti.

Holy Goddess, Merciful God, let it not suck.

Triane's Son Rising at Dreamspinner Press

Triane's Son Rising at All Romance e-books

Triane's Son Rising at Amazon.com

(I'll add the amazon.com link when it comes out :-)

5 comments:

Donna Lee said...

It won't suck. You put such humanity into your writing-that's what makes it so good. People can see themselves being there, part of the story, and that makes it readable and enjoyable.

Galad said...

I was one of those adults who really enjoyed the books the first time around. Glad to see them have new life!!

Jaime Samms said...

I'm thinking I'll have to take this book to work so the teen doesn't get distracted from her school work...yes. That's it. I'll just have to keep it with me during the day....

Jeff Erno said...

Amy,
I'm so enjoying this book. I began reading it, but finally had to take a break at 62% when my kindle ran out of juice. Will finish tonight.

I didn't know if you had a blog, but I decided to check because I wanted to know the answer to one question. And I'm pleased to see you've answered it. I feel so connected to the family in the story and I wondered if the characters were modeled after your own family. Wow, there is so much heart in every character. It's absolutely beautiful.

Thanks so much for a truly beautiful story. A work of art.

Amy Lane said...

Jeff-- thanks so much for your lovely comment. Yes-- the Moons are my people. I'm glad you love them.