For those of you who don’t know, NaNo is National Novel Writing Month wherein in, literally thousands and thousands, of writers unite and slam out a novel or about 50,000 words in 1 month.
Thirteen months ago, I was dealing with a three-year-old in mourning for his old life (and maybe moving homes), a baby, the fact that my parents moved across country, and the dismal sales of my first book. Halfway through November, I decided to join in on NaNo and to NaNo the shit out of it. Knowing me, that was probably the exact phrase I used.
My goal was, simply, 50,000 words. I didn’t care if it was the sequel to These Lying Eyes, something new, or something old. I just needed to write, escape the hard parts of my life, and believe that I could tell a story I liked.
So, I wrote much of This Betraying Flesh (the above named sequel), I wrote a story I titled the Carnival of Dreams (which I love and will eventually publish), and at the end of the month–when I was struggling with reaching that word count goal and my Carnival was done and I was stuck on This Betraying Flesh, I opened a new document, glanced around the New Seasons eating area where I was writing and typed…
That was it.
I followed it by staring at those two words on that blank white pages, and I remembered that I was NaNoing the shit out of the month, and I just kept writing.
And then I wrote. And I wrote. I had no plans, no outline, nothing but a love of Snow White that came more from the art about her than the Disney movie or the original fairy tale. (Especially Fables the graphic novels.) I had loud music in my ears and an escalating stress level in my personal life.
It didn’t take long before I realized that I wasn’t a fan of Prince Charming, to want to add a sister (Rose Red), and for my “Snow” to be totally different from the stories I’d seen before. The seven dwarves became the seven sons of the Witch Queen.
The story flew out of me. It was bigger and far more epic than I thought. It became a series, with spin-off characters–characters who are still revealing themselves to me. Through Snow, I found the Shadow Kin. One of the pieces of fantasy that I created on my own and that I am so proud of. (The Shadow Kin were introduced in my novella, Song of Sorrow.)
I freaking love this world. Like freaking LOVE it. I love it so much that when I got my beta reader feedback this summer and realized that my story wasn’t coming together, I set aside everything else and rewrote the whole novel. And though I don’t claim that it is anything like The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, it lives in the same place inside my head. The Blue Sword was my favorite book during my adolescence. I, literally, read it like 30-50 times. There were days where I finished the book yet again, closed the book, and then re-opened it to read it again. I FREAKING LOVE that The Blue Sword to this day. And my Snow White takes me to the same place inside my head. So is it The Blue Sword? No. Is it anything like The Blue Sword? Only if you live inside my head.
But do I love it? Yes, just so much. And it’s coming!
Here is the cover. It’ll be adjusted because Snow White, Rose Red has become Snow White. And then later Rose Red.
I love Snow White. And Xavier. And Rose Red. And Roger. And Rebekah, aka Red Riding Hood. I love Nixie and Hope and Faith, and I love how they’re side characters and then as I write they grow into something more. A character who I intended to be only a surface side character — Nixie has become so much more. She’s dark and tormented and kind of scary, and she might have replaced Snow as my favorite character for the series. So what I’m saying is, early next year you’ll be meeting my weird and twisted fairy tales. And I hope you love them as much as I.
If you haven’t tried it yet, you can find Song of Sorrow here. It’s a prequel series to the novel series. Not necessary to get the Snow story line, but I think fun all the same.