I love all things historical, but like Tricia and Emilie, after finishing The Schoolhouse Disappearance I needed a break from it. Unlike Emilie and Tricia, I knew I couldn’t write another contemporary novel. In fact, I had never planned to write a contemporary novel—ever! (Lesson learned: Never say never). Kathryn’s Hero came about because about two months before my brother’s return from his first deployment, all my pent-up emotions spilled over, and the only way I knew how to deal with them was to write about it. When it comes down to it though, contemporary just isn’t my thing.
With historical and contemporary stories crossed off the list of possible projects, that left me with only one other novel (in my idea basket that wasn’t history related) to focus on—a young adult science fiction novel. It was the second novel I’d ever written—and it was a disaster, but the characters and the world I’d created so many years ago still spoke to me. I wanted to go back to that novel and rework it—okay I’ll be honest, completely rewrite it. Rereading the 72,000 (yes it was that long!) word manuscript made me realize there was no salvaging the novel. Which was just as well ’cause I really wanted to start from scratch.
And so the brainstorming began for a new plot. Before I realized it, I was world building! I’d neglected to really define my world in the first novel, and I found that this time as I built my world, my story started to come into focus. I drew maps (yes, I’ve included a couple at the end of this for you to see just how obsessed I got), created a city, researched rain forests (the new setting for my novel—don’t ask where it came from, I’ve no clue. I’ve never had any particular interest in them…never thought I’d create a planet where 90% of the continent was a rain forest, but then my stories don’t much listen to me when they get going.), created a government and discovered the backstory that would eventually lead to me discovering just what this novel would be about. About halfway through all this I realized I had two stories on my hands. I know, I know I’m an overachiever, what can I say?
You see, my main character has a twin, and I realized that he too needed his own story. Better yet, while the two stories would stand on their own, they’d be partially told simultaneously, and would complement each other (It’s true. I never undertake anything simple.). I did this world building when I should have been rewriting Abby, but obviously wasn’t. I finally got to a point where I had to stop all planning and plotting and either switch over to Abby or start writing Avrina’s story. (Avrina is pronounced Av-re-na — long ‘e’.) I did stop, and in three months managed to rewrite Abby’s story. Now that she’s done (sort of) I’ve returned to Avrina and there’s no stopping me this time.
I’m moving along with Avrina’s story and having fun. I’ve been missing that in my writing lately. I can’t stop grinning when I start plotting out scenes. I get giddy over the idea of being able to write from two points of views. I’m excited to discover what story she has to tell and I don’t have to force myself to write. I sit at a computer and the story just spills out of me and onto the pages. I’ve missed that in my writing for the past couple years. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Abby, but after two years of her before grad school, then two years in grad school and this past year on her I needed to leave her alone for a while. I needed to get back to being in love with writing and unable to stop even when life’s other responsibilities were calling me. With Avrina, I’ve found that again.
I realize the above doesn’t tell you much about the actual plot of Avrina De Mer (working title–because I haven’t a clue what to title this novel yet!). I’m not sure I can explain it all in a concise way yet…but I’m going to try! The basic plot: Avrina lives on MerDocen, a planet that was exiled over hundred years ago because of a war they started with the Galaxy. MerDocen has a plant known as the Magna which grows only on MerDocen. When a plague breaks out in the galaxy and is it discovered that the seed of the magna plant is an antidote, the Galaxy is forced to remove the exile in exchange for access to MerDocen’s magna’s plants. This removal of the exile comes with some strings, though. Meldon O’Can, president of the Valant Quadrant of the Galaxy, arrives on MerDocen to tell them of his new terms and from there a story filled with a marriage, death, sabotage, backstabbing, learning to trust, and oh so much more begins!
And as promised…here are my sketches…must be the architect in me that feels the need to draw out my world. (Click to enlarge the images)