This is a guest post by Gillian Bronte Adams.
Brevity may not be my strength, but if you were to ask me to describe Out of Darkness Rising in only a few words, I would say that at its heart, it is a love letter.
To whom, you ask?
I suppose it could be written to everyone who believed in me when I scarce believed in myself. Publishing this book has taken me along such strange and twisting paths that I was tempted to throw up my hands and admit defeat more than once.
Just as “Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam,” I wouldn’t have “got far” without my stalwart companions encouraging me along each step of the way.
It could be written to writing itself, a wild compilation of all the things I love about fantasy and fairytales.
It could even be written to you.
If you are anything like me, you can easily lose yourself in a storyworld for hours at a time. Far too frequently when I was growing up, my younger siblings would get frustrated when they tried to talk to me because once my nose was buried in a book, I would smile and nod but not hear a word they were saying.
Reading my own books is a bit different. Once the final edit has been finished and the final proof completed, there is no element of surprise left in the story for its writer. I have planned the action down the second, dreamed up the dialogue in my own noggin, tweaked each word to sound “just so,” and have the plot fixed as firmly as a road map before my eyes.
Every now and then, there remains a battle scene that sets my blood pumping, a section of prose that makes me sigh in contentment, or a piece of witty banter that brings a chuckle to my lips. I can still shed a tear or two over the death of this character or the sorrow of that one over there.
But I am rarely deeply stirred by the things I write after the initial writing, simply because I wrote them.
Not so with Out of Darkness Rising.
Even now, six years after the imagining and four major rewrites later, something about this novella still manages to grip me by the throat and sink its teeth into my heart.
Perhaps because there is so much of me written into this novella. So much of my hopes and fears, my struggles, my doubts, my dreams.
This book grew from the wild imaginings of a girl who dreamed an impossible dream. It was tempered by a girl who faced the difficulties of impossibility, set her teeth against the challenges, and braved her fears to see success … only to watch that success shatter in her hands. It was made anew by a girl who had learned enough to know she had so much more to learn.
It was edited in pain and handed to you now with the air of a knight returning from battle with the enemy’s standard in hand.
And yet, this book was not written for you.
It was not even written for me.
It was written as a love letter to my Savior.
In Out of Darkness Rising, you catch a glimpse—only a glimpse, mind you—of my heart. For I am Hadriel, wild to be free. And I am Marya, too ashamed to stand. Like Hadriel, I have marched out boldly on a course of my own choosing … only to find myself bound by chains of my own making. Like Marya, I have cried out into the storm and the night that I am abandoned, not knowing and not caring that it is I who have wandered.
Like the villagers, I have stood upon the Stone and felt the heat of the Serpent’s breath, and when my craven knees could not bear me up, I have knelt in shame, only to have my head lifted by the One who bore my pain.
By my Redeemer.
Though Out of Darkness Rising was not written to you, it was written for you and me and all of the Maryas, Hadriels, Maddrells, and Bjorns in this world. It is my hope that it will serve as a reminder of who you are, where you have come from, and what the Lord has done for you. That it may rekindle your first love and awaken in you a hope everlasting.
And that the final words will set your heart to throbbing and pounding, overcome with a wild desire to stand upon the shores of the Kingdom, and to know that it is not the end, just the beginning.
GILLIAN BRONTE ADAMS is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. She is the author of Orphan’s Song, book one of the Songkeeper Chronicles, and Out of Darkness Rising. Visit Gillian online at her blog, Twitter, or Facebook page.