Growing up, the books I read were heavily influenced by my mother. An avid fantasy and science fiction fan, she particularly loved stories about smart and talented women. Telzey Amberdon and Menoly (harper of Pern) both immediately come to mind, but there were many more. In fact, it wasn’t until high school that I realized female protagonists were in the minority.
When I was writing Abigail’s Dragons, I knew that Abigail had to be a character that lived up to my childhood standards. To be more precise, she had to be someone my mother would have enjoyed reading about.
The story of Abigail starts in an amazingly dark place. Thirteen years old, she’s living underground, terrified of the magic within her, scared of what she’ll become if it grows out of control. She spends her days tending to kids who, like her, are cursed with magic. They’re kept asleep in an attempt to prevent their magic from growing.
Lying on her back, Abigail Kuczynski opened her eyes. Water dripped from pastel blue stalactites above her, each drop making a small bloop as it hit the pool surrounding her stone bed. Pale, golden light filtered up through the water. It cast rippling shadows on the ceiling but left her in darkness.
Starting in that darkness, Abigail faces challenges that are both internal and external. She’s still recovering from the loss of her parents, as well as the discovery of her own burgeoning magic. She’s surrounded by sleepers, and overwhelmed by a sense of responsibility toward them.
The air in her cave felt the same as always, cold with a hint of dampness. Look for the good, she thought. It had been one of the last things her mom had said to her.
As the story took shape, I found myself trapped with her inside that cave, cut off from both freedom and the beautiful New Hampshire wilderness. Her mother’s mantra, “look for the good,” started to resonate through my non-writing life. As the adventure gathered momentum, and the community around her became more and more complex, my own journey as a writer took on a life of its own.
All stories require research, but this one had me speaking with people as far away as Africa and China and Wales, not to mention studying ASL daily.
In short, I’ve never had a story affect my own story as much as this one has. I like to think my mother is out there, somewhere, chuckling.
And now that story is finally available. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Abigail’s Dragons is available on July 1st. You can preorder the ebook now on Amazon.
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