I’ve spent a lot of time recently trying to share things, articles or giveaways that I think would be of interest on my Facebook page. Would make me popular on the interwebs and get me noticed while we put the finishing touches on Book 1 of the Monster of Selkirk series. And then I realized… while what I share may be interesting or helpful or cool (I certainly think it is) it doesn’t tell you much about my book(s) or why I wrote them. Oh sure, I wrote a blog post about why I write fantasy in particular, but that doesn’t tell you why I wrote THIS book, why I felt compelled to tell Tallis’s story. And the answer is simple, I was afraid. Embarrassed that a grown-ass woman wrote a young adult fantasy book. That the people I knew in my past lives as an adult in advertising would chortle on the inside. That, by the way, has not happened (to my knowledge) everyone has been exceedingly supportive and excited for me and I truly, and deeply thank you for that. But it’s 2017 and I’m embracing this life so here it is, the reason I wrote THIS book and pray that you all enjoy it.
Life is overwhelming. Especially for people who aren’t that stereotypical popular person, the one everyone likes and, on the surface, seems like life is just easy for. For people with anxiety, for people who aren’t as confident as they wish they could be, life feels overwhelming and like you are constantly in over your head, a step away from people discovering you’re a fraud. I feel that way on a daily basis. I look for escapes, mainly in my own imagination, where I can be the person I want to be, where I can reach out and express myself without being obnoxious.
Tallis looks the way I wish I did, beautiful and petite. It’s my self-conscious tendencies making the creature I wish I looked like but don’t because of genetics. Tallis is a strong woman who doesn’t like the situation she finds herself in, doesn’t want the responsibilities thrust upon her, but she knows the right thing to do and she’ll be dammed if she doesn’t at least try. She doesn’t want people to know she’s suffering, that she needs help, but her support group – her friends – see her for who she is and help regardless. They help her learn that it’s ok to ask for help. She struggles with loss and finding meaning in bad situations. She has to learn how to trust and how to love herself so that she can appreciate when others love her in return. She has to decide the kind of person she wants to be and seize it rather than let the world dictate to her what IT wants her to be. She has to grow and step into uncomfortable situations and find a way to accomplish her goals without losing herself in the process.
Sound familiar? Sound like people you know? I hope it does. So why fantasy? Tallis could exist in any world, even ours. I’ve said it before, I like fantasy but more importantly, it allows me to create real monsters, real nasty pieces of work, and real fantastical situations that can serve as a metaphor for those demons that generally dwell only within our own minds. In fantasy, the goals are clear, the heroes journey defined, the conclusion feels epic and dreamy and I LOVE that. It’s easy for myself to lose myself in that and forget my own real insecurities and attach myself to a strong heroine battling feral elves with the same issues I have and appreciate what a badass she is. Fantasy makes life simple while creating a new world that is rich and complicated (even without magic).
Tallis’s journey is one I find familiar but one dialed to a level that I wish was real. With amazing new places and people and scenarios that are fun and interesting but at the core, it’s still Tallis trying to handle her life without letting it become overwhelming. It’s her friends, Rosslyn and Tomas, growing up and becoming the people they were meant to be, people I’d totally love to hang out with because they are based on people I actually DO love hanging out with.
Tallis’s story is a long one because I love her and this place I’ve made for her, and by proxy, built for me. It’s personal and it’s far enough removed to where I can be punishing to my characters because I am a fan of a good “boss battle”.
I initially wrote this book for me but I do realize I am not a unique snowflake. I am not alone in how I feel or what I desire. So, I wrote this for people who maybe feel like I do. Or for people who just like a young adult fantasy story that doesn’t spend forty pages describing food and then killing off everyone and take a year to finish reading. You know what I’m talking about (but don’t get me wrong, I still love GOT, too).
I am extremely excited to introduce people to Tallis and her friends and I want them to love them (or hate them as the case may be) as much as I do. So, thank you for believing in me and joining me on this journey and I can’t wait to see where this goes!