Well, shit. Two years have passed.
Two years since I got that email – the one my agent labelled This is a good one! Two years since I took that meeting and signed that contract and essentially threw all my plans up into the air. Two years since becoming a signed author. For you, dear reader, I have collated a list of learnings I’ve acquired since:
- – I suck at this.
- – No, wait. Maybe I don’t suck at this?
- – Never mind, I’m fucking awful.
Such is the miserable beauty of creating. I say beauty, because whilst I may have doubled my alcohol consumption in the past two years, I’ve also never felt more driven, more challenged, more like myself, and for that, I have readers to thank.
For those who’ve had the good taste not to know my name before now, let me take you back a bit. This is going to sound awfully How I Met Your Mother of me, but it all started when I became kind of well-known in online book communities as a reviewer. You can imagine the expectation attached to that. I’d opened my large(ish) mouth and ranted about every thought I’d ever had about books, and then I had the audacity to go ahead and publish one. I wrote every sentence acutely aware of the target I’d drawn on my back. Silly me had gone ahead and convinced a whole lot of people that I (a thirty-something teacher from Australia), knew how to write a decent romantic fantasy. In the interest of transparency, I’ll let you know now this wasn’t my first dally. I’d written a book or nine that will never see the light of day. But now? Now I was writing a book waited upon by a few hundred, maybe even a few thousand people. What an opportunity. What a recipe for absolute cosmic failure.
I’m pleased to report that it was not, in fact, a failure – cosmic or otherwise. I owe that to a few thousand different people, but most especially to the best publishing team (and I say this with absolutely no one to compare them to) in the world. To them, I’m endlessly thankful that they took a chance on this story.
Book one in the trilogy – Ledge, released in September of 2022, but I actually drafted it in early 2021. The story came from a pretty simple idea. I had read a pile of stories about lone survivors dragging their half-dead bodies through deserts, or hanging on to boat scraps in storm-tossed seas – plots with simple conflicts and resolutions. If a hero or heroine finds themselves on frozen wasteland, the story will inevitably follow their harrowing journey to safety. Always thrilling. Always thought-provoking. What is the character willing to do to survive an environment designed to kill them? What would we be willing to do? Cut off a toe? Kill? Eat a companion? I could juice this question all day, wring every possible ‘what if’ from it. It’s one of my favourite plot lines. The conclusion to a story like that – man vs. wilderness – always seems to be predicated on time. How much time left until the food runs out, until dehydration sets in? How long until the survivor finds his sanctuary, or will time run out before he can? This led me to a thought – what if the objective wasn’t escape? What if escape wasn’t possible? What then? This is what I love about fantasy – the ability to construct a world to make that plot-line plausible. I could literally build a world to cage a character, and then add super cool but deranged winged creatures (because honestly, why wouldn’t I?) to raise the stakes.
But then the character in my head had the audacity to escape my inescapable world and the plot outline went to shit. Its an occupational hazard. The good news is, Dawsyn Sabar (our FMC) is wonderfully savage and entertaining and has lots of fun wreaking havoc down the mountain slopes and into the valley below.
Now, there were several readers who were a little put out by the ending of Ledge. Somehow, they were surprised that a book called Ledge would leave them on a metaphorical ledge. I don’t really know what you want me say. I quite literally spelled it out for you. I suppose I am (officially) sorry.
But! For those readers returning to the kingdom of Terrsaw: book two, Chasm, awaits! Everything will be mostly sort of fine. Baltisse will be there! Salem and Esra are ready to do mostly useless things for your entertainment. Questions will be answered, axes will be swung into necks and whatnot.
And no, I’m not
telling you if he will be there or not. Read it for yourself.
Lastly, dear reader, I’m often asked what I hope people will ‘take away’ from reading my books, and I wish I had a sophisticated answer, but the truth is that I just want you to have fun. Fantasy is supposed to be engrossing and immersive. It’s made to give us that small escape. I hope this book gives you that break – the getaway we can’t always take when responsibility anchors us.
So, happy reading. Stay the frost, watch the Chasm, the cold is not alive (or is it? What
does that even mean?)
Stacey McEwan x
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