We are six weeks, give or take, from the release of my novel, Stranded: A Story of Frontier Survival (May 17, Five Star Publishing). It’s the story, based on a true account, of a young girl who travels West with her family and comes to be, you guessed it, stranded, alone, in the Northern Rockies in the winter of 1849.
(Think Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet but with the spunk of True Grit’s Mattie Ross. Or Island of the Blue Dolphins, but with mountains and snow and ice. And wolves and mountain lions. Oh, dear.)
It is also my first novel written with young-adult readers in mind. All that means is it should appeal to younger readers as well as to the seasoned among us (ahem). The story is at times brutal, touching, shocking, hopeless, and hopeful. Needless to say (and yet …), I am quite pleased with this one, much as I have been with my previous books.
They all offer unexpected, happy surprises in the writing, in the editing, and then again at that magical moment when they are finally real. For me that’s when I hold a copy in my hands, touch the cover, thumb the spine, flip pages no one else has flipped, and see all those words, knowing they exist in that order because of me. That is a heady five minutes.
Then comes the uncertainty, a time when I nibble my nails (difficult with fingers crossed), hoping readers will find this newest offering of interest.
Creating, with keyboard, paintbrush, ukulele, chisel, camera, angle grinder, or whoopie cushion (egad!), is the first, most freeing, and fun step in the process of making art. The next step, the most exciting, is whisking the sheet from the finished work in a Ta-Da! moment. It can also be the most terrifying.
It’s at this point that a creation is no longer a secret, private thing brought about by its creator. It is now available to everyone. Ideally it will begin a long, engaging, intriguing relationship with an audience, and vice-versa. It’s mutual trust of the finestkind, as they say in Maine.
Five Star Publishing’s editorial efforts helped make the manuscript better, and the cover design of Stranded is a visual victory that captures the mood of the book well. Early reviews are bubbling up and folks like what they’re reading.
Onward! F.A.B.! Thunderbirds are … GO!