Behind The Scenes : Shattered Blue, Book One of The Light Trilogy
HOW IT CAME ABOUT
I had the idea for Aurora, and the Fae Colorline mythology bouncing around my head for a couple of years, but it stayed in the background as I tried to establish myself after college in LA as a screenwriter. I began to focus on the TV world, writing several pilots for the CW network, then found myself with some downtime between development cycles. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to work on more: prose or poetry, and then the idea of Noa came to me. A heroine who writes poetry; a novel that could encapsulate both! I knew that to explore this special passion, which of course is my special passion, I would need a lexicon of images beyond the ordinary and natural—something magical. And then it all came together: the idea of a young poet, struggling to find her own world separate from her childhood, who can actually enter the magical world she envisions in language.
THE LIGHTNING-FAST REVISION AND WORD COUNT WOES
When Amazon Skyscape decided to publish the book, they decided they wanted it fast, really fast, and so my editor Annie and I had to get to work! The original rough draft was over 620 pages and 160,000 words, and Annie gave me a target of 80,000 words and three weeks to do it in! She gave excellent guidance on how to cut and polish and streamline, but it was still a gargantuan task! Trust me, many late nights followed to the sound of nighttime Kauai waves, while Ninja slept on the surfboard wondering why we weren’t out in the water (see picture). Finally, somehow, we made it by the deadline—and amazingly, for all the heartache it took to cut things I loved—the shorter version is my favorite by far!
COPY-EDITING CRASH COURSE
Just like the revision, the copy-editing had to happen lightning-fast. MY amazing copyeditors at Alloy did a Herculean effort in getting it copyedited—twice!—in a single week, and then sent it back to me to review. Since this is my debut novel, I had never been through a professional copyedit before, and it was a real crash course! The manuscript comes back to you with changes to grammar and structure made and locked—and marked by flags. The author then goes through and can “STET” anything she wants returned to its original (and maybe less grammatical) form. This was a big job for me because I write by poetry rules, not necessarily grammatical rules—so sometimes I eliminate or insert extra comments on purpose, or make up new words, or ignore rules for flow (My favorite writer of all time is ee cummings, whose style of punctuation and grammar is all his own!). I joked with my copyeditor Romy that I was probably her worst nightmare, since I ended up STETing a lot!
TITLE CHANGES AND COVER CONUNDRUMS
At the very last moment, we realized that the title we’d been working under, “FAE,” was already taken by a similar novel, and because of a computer glitch, Alloy and Amazon’s searches when approving it had not caught the conflict. Cue a mad scramble to come up with a new title and cover art and get it approved by the days-later deadline where the interiors and exteriors had to be locked to make our pub date. In early drafts, I had planned the trilogy to have each volume named for a Colorline of Fae—Blue, Red, Green, in accordance with the symbolic themes of the book—and now I got the chance to bring that motif back in. I am so much happier with “SHATTERED BLUE” than “Fae” for this reason, because I think it thematically caputures the story. This first volume is about the material of Noa’s world and perception literally changing—like Blue Fae changing the elements. Everything she knew—and everything Judah and Callum knew as well— will be shattered and reformed. And I absolutely love the cover art it inspired in the great team at Alloy! I won’t post a spoiler, but I think it sums up the ending of this novel perfectly. The only major comment I had on the preliminary art was that the original graphic made the girl’s hair too dark, and so with the magic of Photoshop we made sure reflected Noa’s special blond!
INSPIRATIONS FOR CHARACTERS
The characters all blend different people and experiences from my life, mixed around with new, imagined touches and flair, but I definitely had a lot of great inspiration to draw from. Sasha, in particular, was inspired by my nephew Avery (of the Thomas bedspread in the book) and niece Olivia (who’s got a loud voice and sure knows what she wants!). They are so special to me, and by infusing them into Sasha, I hope she becomes special to readers as well. Miles and Olivia, two other favorite voices, are blends of my very best friends. Miles combines the best of the eight (!!!) boys I roomed with in college (yep, I was the only girl in the suite! BUT, I had my own bathroom 😉 ) who were my first family of my own choice. And anyone who knows my BFF Janet knows her spirit is in quick-witted, hell-raiser Olivia, who like Janet, loves art and the music band Ours.