Hi, my name is Lydia. I am 18 years old and have published some books. Today is where I talk to you about my latest project: the first two books in my fantasy series Instruments of Sacrifice.
In 2010, I saw a really, really bad adaptation of Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. (I have since then seen the show and ADORE IT.) Now, I consider M. Night Shyamalan to be a fantastic story-creator, but adaptations may not be in his wheelhouse. But anyway, I hated the movie but was fascinated with the idea of being able to bend four natural elements. So original of me, right? So, I started to write a series with my best friend called The Lost Princess. It was the most original story ever. Mary, the daughter of a deceased king and queen, discovers she is the ONLY person in her entire kingdom of element-bending people capable of bending all four elements and bringing peace to her kingdom. There is Dark Lord, duh, (he takes tango lessons) who wants to kill her for her powers etc. And then there’s a twist. There’s a force field AROUND THE CAPITAL OF THE KINGDOM that only this special lost princess can break with her four magic powers. Everything is happy in the end and everyone plays with legos.
That book is now Spirit Followers and is a very different story. (Tango excluded. Sorry.) By the time I was 16, I had published this book. Hardly anyone bought or read it, and honestly, it kinda sucked. I fell out of love with the story and was unmotivated to read and write as I use to. By that point, I had already drafted the sequel Keepers of the Crown but was having a really difficult time revising and editing it. So, I took a break. I let this story and myself breathe. I wrote and published a poetry collection instead. You can read about that here. Others read it for me. (THANK YOU BETA READERS.) I finally got back into this a month and a half ago when I went to the Dominican Republic. I took a couple of hours each day to sit on my best friend’s bedroom floor and fall in love with this story again. It worked! I am so, so in love with this story all over again.
Keepers of the Crown grew and grew until it was around 700 pages. And then it shrunk to 621 pages because all of my beta readers told me they didn’t want to read a War and Peace sized young adult fantasy. With the upcoming publication of Keepers of the Crown, I needed a new cover creator and to revamp Spirit Followers. So I dived back into the story I worked on between 2010 and 2016. I rediscovered my love for it and made some changes.
So, I suppose this post is to tell you about these two books. Obviously, you can go and read the synopsis and the reviews, but as my author bio states that I aim to write work that is both fresh and impacting, I want to tell you why I believe these books have done exactly that for me.
First off, God was at work in every. Single. Detail. I truly believe that. The most significant struggle I’ve had with writing since I started it is in this one doubt that pops up every once in a while. “Is this what I really want to do with my life? Is this what God is calling me to do?” I have since then realized, through other jobs, tasks, relationships, etc. is that the only thing I am ever called to do in my life is to love Christ, to love God, and to love others. Everything else falls under that. Including writing. So, it isn’t until I put God before writing that writing becomes amazing and beautiful for me.
These stories are impactful for me because I saw God move through it all. I had to answer questions while writing like: Why do you believe in God? Why does God allow suffering? Why does God allow us to be betrayed and to lose loved ones? What would it be like if I had grown up not being taught about God? And many, many more. These questions I answered through characters traversing a fantastical world, experiencing events more perilous than ones I have had myself. I delved into ancient history and literature as well as the Old Testament. And it was so much fun.
By the time I finished high school, I had a running list of what I would need in order to successfully publish my next book. I would need beta readers/people to give me feedback, a cover artist, time to figure out how to self-publish on my own, a community of self-published authors to be inspired and encouraged by, and reviewers.
On June 2nd, 2018 I met my cover artist in line at Bookcon. In September, two separate people emailed me about Beta reading. Amazon switched their Createspace service over to KDP publishing, a much easier to use platform. I found reviewers online in abundance and they keep on coming! I’ve found and read a few self-published authors since then as well.
See? God in the details. I don’t believe it was mere coincidence that I knew I needed a cover artist and then shortly after I just happen to get into line behind the girl who would just that. Or anything else that occurred in the publishing process of this book. I have learned so very much and am learning more every day.
Through the process of these books, I have learned how to cherish and love those around me more and better by writing about friendships and sisterhood. This book has caused many tears and laughter. There was one night I remember vividly because I woke my sister up in the middle of the night to tell her about this chapter I had written that I was really, really excited about. I didn’t sleep that night, but I was so very full of joy. I finished this book in the Dominican Republic with my best friend in the room.
It’s been a journey, but an amazing one for sure. Only four more books to go! hahaha…
If you do choose to look into these stories more, I hope they touch you as much as they did me.