If I could pick a quote for my book it would be this one from CS Lewis:
“The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs. There is not one of them which will not make us into devils if we set up as an absolute guide.”
The world of Stone Bearers was inspired by a world created by sister. In this world, magic was done by those who could connect to stones representing certain values. Now I don’t know if this what my sister originally intended, but it occurred to me that the major conflict of this world would be if someone took their value and took it to the extreme. In order to have peace in this fantasy world, they would need to be balanced by values that on the surface seemed entirely opposite, but complementary.
And as CS Lewis continues to explain in this section of Mere Christianity that I quoted, “goodness” comes from applying our impulses at prudent times, like keys on a piano. There is not one note that could not be considered at one time “good” and another time “evil” based on its use.
Now I had this world and a rough idea on where the conflict would be. I started writing and it EXPLODED. I still have high hopes of that original project being published in some form (perhaps as a companion/sequel to this one) so we can wait to talk more about that project and the creation of my fantasy world later, but the crux of the issue was that the world became too big for one book, and that was what I was being told publishers and readers would expect from me as a writer just starting out.
One book. One pitch-able high concept. And maybe if people like it, THEN you can write your series.
Plus it was my very first book; the end result just wasn’t very good.
So I tossed that book away in what I now consider one of the lowest points of my life (because of several things going on all at the same time, not just this one). I had to find a smaller idea, but I had no idea where to start.
I seemed incapable of having a single idea for myself, so I again turned to someone else for help. This time a college friend. She was among the first to read my original monstrosity and was one of my biggest sources of “writer support” at that time. She thought it might be fun to do some twisted fairytale books together. We started one about Robin Hood, but it never really got past the first chapter.
But as we were brainstorming ideas, two things stood out to me: A land where everyone got a prophecy (what would happen if you got a bad one? Or at least one you did not want?) and a djinni (what really happens when you free one… assuming the djinni is NOT a lovable Robin Williams character?).
So those two ideas started clicking inside my head until I realized what I had—a stand-alone novel that could be placed inside my original fantasy world. Something that was equal parts fairytale, epic, and snark.
I finished the first draft of that book in 2011, around the same time I joined my writing group here in Utah. Almost five years were spent polishing it up, writing other books, going to writing conferences, and then finding a publisher. Now, I still don’t know if it is perfect, but it is coming out. And I am so Nerv-cited (nervous+ excited)!
And now that you know where it came from, hopefully some more of you will be simply excited—without the nervousness. :)