Springtime has come to Texas and it feels even more pleasant because it follows closely on the heels of a devastating winter storm that hit here a short time ago. Our hardy little rosemary plant died during the storm—which was a pity because rosemary is one of the plants I’ve always had success growing. In fact, because of my good memories spent gardening over the years, I named Arielle’s sister Rosemary in Celestine Princess. This character doesn’t appear much as Arielle is separated from her family throughout the book, but choosing this name for someone that the MC cares about is a little personal touch for me.
So we replaced the old rosemary plant with a new one and our plum trees are blossoming beautifully. One of them had a large limb, almost a third of the tree, cut off last year due to a disease, but it seems to be in a great mood in spite of that. The branches are white with flowers. We are also experimenting with growing carrots, which aren’t easy to nurture and we haven’t grown them in my memory. (My mother says she tried to grow them once, but that was before I could remember.) Tending things that take effort to care for and looking at the enduring strength of our tree that has been through so much—imagine if your legs were cut off and then you were subjected to abnormal temperatures!—reminds me of the vicissitudes of characters in fiction and why we respond to those so much. The struggle of life and also its healing are echoed in the stories we read and seen even in the natural world around us.
My current writing effort looks like it is shaping up to be Palladia 4. It’s a little early to tell, but it seems to be getting longer than just a short story. When I first wrote Palladia 3, it felt like a chance to finish out a trilogy that was started years ago and never completed. But by the time the book grew during the writing, the world of Palladia had really gone on a journey and Celestine Princess didn’t feel like the end of a trilogy, but a middle book in a series. Characters from the earlier books, like Katia, had also really grown up. As a guide for Arielle, she represents faith to believe in what is right, and from a teenage outsider who moved into a corrupt city and blew up a building (among other things she and her brother did), she showed a much more mature persona by Palladia 3. Perhaps that’s a natural effect of so many years passing since I wrote books using this world.
This new story will use the culture of Alphea (Mars) as a setting. The Palladia world is largely dystopian in terms of “the Earth won’t look ideal in the future” framework, but it also mentions a colonized solar system and we’ve never visited any of these places that are mentioned. We mostly visit Palladian countries caught in a friction between two cultural groups—a friction that reached a boiling point around Arielle’s adventures in Celestine Princess. But writing a brief area on Luna (the Moon) in that book really sent me into a whole story set off-Earth. I had considered characters taking a trip to Alphea last year, but now I am revisiting the concept after doing Palladia 3 it’s a quite different take from before. The Palladia books each have a different protagonist, but characters and locations from earlier books pop up in later ones and Katia will reappear in this one. Her personality has grown so strong that by now I have this sensation of “these new characters are going to meet her. I wonder what that will be like for them? I think they will be very impressed by how she rises to challenges.” And as for Miss Plummer from Consuela, who has it in for Arielle’s former mentor Mrs. Hoberman . . . well, that argument seems to have flown all the way to Mars and writing it is one of the really fun things about this new book.
And there will be more updates.
Young Adult Fiction Writer
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