Riding shotgun in a van filled with cousins and snowboards across the painted desert, I am possessed by an uncontrollable smile, picking up my paperback of ABSOLUTE AWAKENING and hugging it to my chest. There have been a few times in my life when I’ve held a book so closely to my heart. Phillip Pullman’s Amber Spyglass, a pre-order when I was 13. The Feminine Mystique as a Christmas gift just one week ago. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë my sophomore year of HS as a gift from an English teacher who saw the wild writer within me before I even did. But this, this time, it is mine. This is my book. The pretty blonde, determined, audacious girl on the front cover is my own creation: Kyrie Kylkynne, the firecracker 13-year-old who will grow in this series of 10 novels for over 30 years. I alone know the secrets she will find and the readers will be lucky to uncover.
Now, she is truly real, rendered more beautiful than my imagination by my uncle, Jeremy Dale (http://www.valleyDweller.com).
I woke up three days ago with the burning urge to hang out with Kyrie Kylkynne. I knew that my book would be coming in soon and I wanted to sit down with her, like with an old friend, but also a child who I must continue to babysit. A child I need to guide, supervising her mistakes and helping her overcome obstacles. Now, this girl sits in my lap and I look out at my beloved Arizona desert and remember how many times I have been inspired by the raw beauty of this land to write raw beauty into characters, both good and “evil” in my books.
Each friend and family member who tells me they have purchased my novel spikes my heart and hope with an intense love and appreciation. Kyrie wants to thank them as well. I dare her to put down her Sage Tablet, step out of the library or warrior training ring of the Falcon Agency and bow low before them, ever meeting their gaze with her fierce green eyes, but showing the respect these people deserve for stepping into her universe.
The freedom of being an independent author is exhilarating. Yes, marketing is a healthy task with hours of time every day devoted to social media and self-promotion. It is a game I am learning to play. However, above all, I am glad that I have finally been able to bring these characters to life. They’ve lived in the seclusion of my mind, only a few beta readers permitted to see their fictional figures move to action. Now, they are out there. They are real and in the world with people able to purchase and be pleased by them.
Most importantly, a character in a fantasy world dealing with bipolar disorder, self-harm, panic attacks, and warring identities will hopefully be able to reach those teenagers, and adults, who feel those same demons.
I feel like a warrior myself. It has taken a long time. These characters started out frolicking in the Coconino Forest as my friends with dragons and magic; now the magic systems are much more complex and the characters have morphed into their own lifeforms. Assassins were bred out of soccer stars, Universal Councilwomen out of feminist soapbox divas, quiet monks out of science nerds. Now, they grace the pages of a new universe and bring belief to my mind, my hands, my eyes as I thumb through the novel of my creation with a giddy grin, excited to hear love and hate from any direction as my book traverses any new reader’s mind.