novel in progress
a young adult fantasy
A flyer with the Circus Sombra, fourteen-year-old Jacquard is cursed with greenness, and it’s getting worse. But she can’t let anyone see the transformation she undergoes in the woods, because then they’d believe she’s the green-skinned tree demon of circus legend. Not that she’s ever stolen anyone’s soul.
When a talking hawk named Kolyu comes looking for the flyer that his visions predict will save his homeland, Jacquard learns the circus’ curse may be caused by broken magic in Misqola, a hidden archipelago protected by mist dragons. So when Kolyu asks Jacquard to help him fix Misqola, she agrees, hoping to also fix the circus—and herself.
But Misqola’s ruler, Tosrak, uses greenness to control people’s minds, so Kolyu isn’t too keen on greenness. Good thing he doesn’t know about Jacquard’s. When her circus wings catch Tosrak’s eye, Jacquard and Kolyu must stay one step ahead of the tyrant and his tree spies as they try to restore magic before the equinox seals Tosrak’s power for the next age. But setting magic right is turning out to be harder than Jacquard ever imagined, and fixing herself might just kill her.
My first sense of the novel rose from a short story I wrote in response to a writing prompt, which included a deserted island and a mask. Somehow a talking hawk showed up in the story. I had so many questions about where this hawk came from, that a short story wasn’t long enough to explore them.
It’s funny how, no matter the project, you tend to return to the same fundamental questions. And these fundamental questions become the work of your life. I am curious about the interplay of truth and illusion, as well as the difficulties of finding your place in the world. I guess it makes sense that a prompt with a mask and a deserted island would have captured my imagination. Still not sure where the talking hawk came from though :o) I think the answer to that is the novel itself.
The novel has gone through multiple rounds of revision.
Thanks in part to a grant from MSAC, I kicked off the revision process with help from book coach Jennie Nash. Thank you, Jennie! Thank you, MSAC! To discover more about the Maryland State Arts Council, click on the link below.
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