|Pre-Order | Goodreads
I didn't expect to find out that people in my life don't think there is room for a person who shares my faith to appear in a work of fiction. Not if I want it to sell. Not if I want to be successful.
Imagine that.* Take a minute and think about it. How would you feel if someone told you to write yourself and the people like you out of your story? That including yourself and people like you on the page would mean failure. Would mean people dumping 1-star reviews all over your release just because you were daring to write a book that reflected a different experience than their own. Imagine learning that people maybe don't think you deserve a place at the table at all. That in the complex tapestry of literature, there is no room for you. You're better off just being erased and replaced. You're better off erasing and replacing yourself, and maybe it'd be better for that character to believe in nothing at all rather than believe in your gods or share in your faith.
I wrote the book anyway. I wrote it and I poured myself into it, and all my fears, and all the opposition, and all the hurt. I wrote it and I kept writing it even before I knew I had my editor's complete approval. And I promise you, there were months of stress and anxiety and terror that I'd invested everything into a book that wouldn't be accepted, and at the end of it, I'd have to write something else instead or destroy the book to make it more "acceptable" to "the market."
But my editor loved it. She loved the book even before she knew I was Heathen, like Emma. Then she loved that it was personal -- that it FELT personal and real -- she didn't ask me to tone down my Heathenry. She didn't ask me to erase my faith or my SELF from the book. She just did everything she could to support me, to give DAUGHTER all the care and attention it deserved to put its best foot forward. And I can't tell you how grateful I am, how relieved, how thrilled that I'm able to offer this book to the world, to my fellow Heathens (who may still, naturally, find fault in my portrayal, because Heathenry is so variable.)
That doesn't mean I'm not still afraid.
I am still afraid that the other voices, the other people are right. That because I included myself and my explicitly non-Christian faith in this book, it will fail. I will fail. I am still terrified that there is no room for me to exist in our literary world. That maybe I would have been better off erased.
I hope I'm wrong.
I hope that you'll all prove me wrong. And every one of you who buys this book -- who loves it, or just likes it, or at the very least respects and supports it even if it isn't your personal cuppa -- you are my hero and my lifeline. You are beacons of light and warmth. You are everything good in this world, and the only thing I hope is that there are enough of you to make it clear to my editor, to my publisher, to the literary WORLD that there is always room for one more at the table -- that readers are not only willing, but eager to make that room.
*If you're a minority of any kind -- by creed or race or orientation or gender -- you probably don't have to imagine this scenario because I'm sure it's already been your life story.
Amazon | Barnes&Noble