Today is the official release day for Discord’s Apple, my second hardcover and first stand-alone novel marketed as fantasy rather than YA. This means I’m slowly ticking items off my career “to do” list. Getting this one out in the wild was a big one, and now it’s here.
Many announcements to go with this:
- I have a Big Idea essay about Discord’s Apple up at Scalzi’s Whatever.
- This month is Urban Fantasy Month at Tor.com, including a few posts by me. The first, Timeline of a Trend, is up today.
- A few more interviews with me have gone up at Amberkatze’s Book Blog, Reading on the Dark Side and RT Book Reviews.
Some behind-the-scenes looks at the story: This novel probably has more autobiography in it than any of my others, but much of it would only be recognizable to other people in my family. Because it’s about family, in many ways. Not individuals so much as family history, heritage, and roots. I spent a chunk of 2002 learning about my family, and that’s the process that ended up in the book. I also changed a bunch of the names to make the story my own, but it’s rooted in reality.
In May of 2002, I lost two family members — my paternal grandfather, and my maternal grandmother’s older sister. I visited Aunt Rose a month or so before she died, and this was the first time I’d ever visited someone for the purpose of saying goodbye like that. I was there with my mother, my grandmother, Aunt Rose, and one of their other sisters. The three of them told stories about growing up in Swink, Colorado, and I heard a lot and learned a lot I never knew before. When my grandfather passed away just a few weeks later, I had a similar experience outside of Anniston, Alabama — after the funeral, we visited the house where Grandpa had grown up, and once again I heard stories I’d never heard before, and had a sense not just of family, but of family tied to a place, with a history. After that summer, I started writing the story of Evie, who goes home in a time of crisis to be with family and discovers a treasure.
Lots and lots of other bits went into the story — lots of mythology, the Greek soldier Sinon who helped win the Trojan War, the military comic book that Evie writes, and so on. But it started with family.
Some visual aids:
This is the house near Swink, Colorado, where my grandmother and her siblings grew up. It’s not quite the house that I imagine Evie’s family living in, but the landscape is similar — open prairie going on for miles — and this location is what I was thinking of when I wrote those scenes.
This is Bent’s Old Fort (or rather a reconstruction of it). This was one of the first trading posts to be established on the Santa Fe Trail, and marked something of a crossroads where various groups from east, west, and south came together. In Discord’s Apple, the place appears as Hope’s Fort, which gave its name to the fictional town where the story takes place. (In reality, the nearest town to Bent’s Old Fort is La Junta.)