So... yesterday, Publishers Weekly posted a few deals, and one of them was mine! (And check out Jessica's amazing deal too, while you're there. We sipped virtual pink champagne over twitter. It was awesome!)
So how did I come to write this MG fantasy that's hard to explain and needs a new, amazing title? I thought I'd share a little bit about it today. Last spring I was trying to revise another fantasy attempt from YA to MG, and I wasn't happy with how it was going. Every word was a chore. So one day, I opened up my idea journal and turned to a page where six months prior, I'd written:
Events happen in and around a garden - a beautiful flower garden.
There is a gypsy.
There is a bird.
There is a girl and a boy.
There is a king.
How can a small hummingbird help a girl and a boy?
I had turned to this page many times before. When I did, I would look at the words I'd written, ponder them for a minute, and quickly move on when nothing came to me. But not this day. This day, I looked at the page in my journal and said to myself, "I want to write THIS story. I just have to figure out what this story is." So I did what I don't allow myself to do very often. I sat and stared out the window for a long time, turning it all over in my mind. And what came to me was, what if a girl is trapped in a tower next to a beautiful flower garden?
That's how it began. It turned into something different, something more, as books usually do when you start with a small seed. Some of those original ideas changed like, although there is a king, the queen actually plays a bigger role. And rather than having a boy and a girl, there is just a girl. And there are other characters I won't bore you with who are important to the story too.
I had so much fun with this story! I checked out all kinds of books about castles, and every day the story swept me up and away to a distant land and I LOVED every minute of it.
My friend Lisa Albert critiqued the manuscript, and I want to thank her for giving me the encouragement I needed, and also giving me an idea that made the ending SO much better! It's scary, trying something new and branching out. But as I told someone recently, as an artist, there are times when the pull to create a specific something planted in your heart is so strong, there is almost no stopping it. And once I started writing, so was the case with this book.
I don't have a publication date yet. I believe Christy hopes to find a fabulous illustrator for it, and there may be black and white sketches throughout. If so, that will, of course, take time.
Anyway... that's how the book came to be in a nutshell. Or perhaps, a hummingbird's beak?