The week before Thanksgiving in 2008, I was given Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga to read by one of my English students. That Thanksgiving weekend I bought my own copies of the books, read through the series again, and then poured over Stephenie Meyer’s website, reading everything I could about the genesis of the story, the process of writing, what she’d done to find an agent, and the adventure her life had become.
I was completely, totally, thoroughly inspired. An idea sparked. I’d had a story floating in my head for decades. I’d written it down in a couple of versions before, but it wasn’t right. I had known I needed a hook, but I just couldn’t figure out what it could be. Stephenie gave me the solution: mythology. Just as she had used vampires and werewolves, Greek mythology could be melded into the experience I wanted to share in order to provide the depth and conflict that had been missing in previous drafts.
The Tuesday after Thanksgiving (that is, this very day four years ago) I began writing Grace Awakening. That first day, I wrote about five double spaced pages. The second day I did the same. Then the third. By the end of three weeks I had 75 pages of writing. I set the goal to keep writing 25 pages a week. I met or exceeded that goal each subsequent week. Twenty three weeks later, the first draft was complete. It was the week before Easter, and I had 155,000 words.
A couple of weeks after Thanksgiving in 2009, I went to the Surrey International Writers Conference. I pitched the book to a small Vancouver publisher. She was interested and asked to see more.
A week before Thanksgiving in 2010 I signed the contracts with Gumboot Books.
In 2011, Gumboot Books went out of business, but Grace Awakening Dreams was released anyway through Lintusen Press in July. By Thanksgiving 2011, it had been in the list of Top iTunes Fantasy books in Canada over a hundred times.
In 10 days, I’ll be back to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference to pitch Grace Awakening Myth, a companion novel that tells Ben’s version of his battle for Grace.
It’s a lot to be thankful for: four years of creativity, empowerment, challenge, excitement, growth, and adventure. It’s been an amazing ride!
Four years ago, when I started typing, I would not have been brave enough to imagine that I’d be in this place today. But here I am. My friend Heather observed, “Where will you be in another 4 years? Do you not love the “wait and see”‘ of life?” The thought of it hit me in the gut. Where will I be? I can only dream where Grace will be, keep writing, and hope I’m holding tightly to her coat tails as she explores the world!
Harry Potter vs. Twilight July 31, 2011
Tags: boyfriend, harry potter, love, postaday2011, sacrifice, stephen king, Twilight
This quote is making the rounds of Facebook statuses these days:
With all due respect, Mr. King. I disagree. That is a weak, simplistic statement simply designed to create controversy. It is also completely erroneous.
Twilight is about the power of love, just like Harry Potter is.
In Harry Potter, you see this power in Snape’s obsessive love for Lily. That love was a fundamental component that weaves through the entire series. In Twilight, the mutual obsession of Edward and Bella drives the plot. In both series, the obsession leads to protection. Edward fights to protect Bella. Snape’s obsession with Lily protects Harry, though secretively.
The theme of love as protection is another theme the two series have in common. Lily’s sacrificial love for Harry provides the blood protection that allows him to survive amid constant threat. The same concept applied when he sacrificed himself for those fighting at Hogwarts. Edward fights to protect Bella. Jacob fights to protect Bella. Both would have willingly died for her. Because of love, Bella trains to be able to protect everyone. Because of love she endures pain to develop her gift and fight to protect the Cullens and the Quileute wolves.
Harry Potter is about doing what’s right in the face of adversity, sure. Being willing to sacrifice yourself for the good of the world is a pretty amazing thing. However, Twilight shares this theme. In New Moon, Edward chooses to sacrifice his happiness for what he considers a better life for Bella. His choice nearly destroys them both, because their love is too powerful to allow them to be separate. Adversity takes many forms.
Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend? No way. It’s about how having the right life mate fills your world with pain and joy in equal measure. It’s about how the challenges of a relationship (like wanting to eat your true love, for example) need to be worked on, but that those challenges can be overcome. It’s about how overcoming those challenges is worthwhile. It’s about how learning to be together can make life more complete.
Harry Potter knew that, too. When he got through with the task of destroying Voldemort, he married Ginny. He knew love was important to have in his life. That was the whole point of defeating Voldemort, after all.
Peace and love. They both take effort. Twilight and Harry Potter are different, but they come to the same conclusions.
PS. They are the same conclusions that Grace discovers in Grace Awakening