I can’t believe I’m writing this post! It feels surreal to say: “Yesterday, my second book was released into the world” when I am still reeling from the fact that I had one published at all last year.
That’s one of the strangest things about the road to getting published. You can try and fail, try and fail, and try and fail for the better part of a decade, churning out words that you begin to feel sure no one will ever read. And then suddenly, everything begins to happen all at once.
KINGDOM OF THE BLAZING PHOENIX is about an epic adventure quest, but at its heart is the story of a girl who tends to underestimate herself. I very much believe that I wove pieces of my own life and my own self in this story, and so it feels very personal – and at the same time, freeing! – to give it to the world with both hands.
It also marks the first time I have ever written a follow-up book to something.
Someone once asked me at a festival: “What is one thing you’ve learned in your long journey to get an agent and a book deal?”
And I responded, very frankly: “To never write a second book in a series, just in case the first book doesn’t land an agent or a deal.”
What a privilege and a chance of a lifetime to have been able to write this duology, beginning with FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS last year! I’ve learned a lot about myself, both as a writer and as an author, this past year.
I’ve learned that I can push through the toughest creative blocks. I’ve learned how strong I can be in the face of negativity.
I’ve learned that I can build a rich and beautiful fantasy world of which I can be proud.
I’ve learned that I can take a character to the very deepest, darkest reaches of the human heart, and then show a different character embracing her gentleness and timidity even as she discovers the courage she needs.
I’ve shown myself, again and again, that this profession – one I dreamt of since I was eight years old – is something I still want with every fiber of my soul.
And I am so deeply grateful to everyone who has come along for the ride! I am currently on tour and I hope to see many of you at my stops this week and next! Check out my website here for a list of all the bookstores I’ll be visiting, in addition to the author friends with whom I’ll be in conversation at these events.
Thank you to the Publishing Crawl family, both contributors and readers, for all of your support. I hope that my posts this year and last inspire and encourage you to keep pursuing your dreams.