Novels are journeys into a world created by someone else’s imagination. There we learn what we are capable of, and what is possible.
This changes us.
The change may not be perceptible, especially to ourselves, but it can be real and lasting. It can become the impetus for turning in a new direction, for building a more fulfilling life. Years after reading a novel, we may remember or re-read the book, and it dawns on us that this is where that idea started.
“[W]e have an obligation never, ever, under any circumstances, to write anything for children to read that we would not want to read ourselves.”
Neil Gaiman, The View From the Cheap Seats
I have a deep affection for the books I read as a kid. When I am in need of comfort, I return to them. But I also love children’s literature that I discovered as an adult, and books that I first read to my kids. Perhaps this is why I am now writing a young adult fantasy novel.
It is in the places where we feel at home that we can be our true selves. And yet, the opposite is also true. We must honor our true selves if we hope to be at home in the world.
Fourteen-year-old Jacquard loves to fly, but no one in the Sky Circus will ever see her as an aerialist. Her small role in Uncle Baxter’s bird act cannot compare with being groomed from birth for the trapeze. It doesn’t help that Jacquard and Uncle Baxter live with Tinker, a zany talking hawk who spins fantastic tales and mixes strange potions. Though she dreams of swinging high over the ring, Jacquard feels more at home in Tinker’s stories of misty dragons and lost lands than she ever will in the circus.
When a stranger shows up with a mysterious letter for Uncle Baxter, Jacquard sets off on a journey that will change everything she knows about herself. As the winds of her hidden history stir around her, Jacquard will discover that flying can be a dangerous game.
I started my novel in 2013, which is a long time ago. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes. Maybe seeing how I’ve done things will inform your process.
Read more about my writing process.
I find it easy to get lost in research. One discovery leads to another, and all that wisdom and magic keep drawing me deeper into the forest. I can only hope that these journeys will inform my writing.
Find out more about my research by choosing an image below.