My brothers and I are close in age, and whatever relationships with other people that we’ve forged later in life, I think that we know each other in a deep way that nobody else will ever know us. Your siblings are the only other people, besides you, who really know what your childhood was like and who you were before you became who you are. Even our parents can only guess at what it was like to be their children. I see this now with my own two boys, just a year and a half apart. They occupy their own little universe together. I loom over their shared childhood but I’m not inside it.
I love writing about siblings because I’m fascinated by this particular closeness. It’s a forced intimacy if you don’t get along with your sibs, and brilliant good fortune if you do, but intense and profound either way. Julia and Dek’s relationship is one of my favorite things about JULIA VANISHES and its sequels. Here are a few little excerpts of Julia-Dek scenes, to give you a taste:
Dek and Julia were each all the other had at the very worst moments of their childhood, and they had to take care of each other when their mother was arrested and drowned as a witch and their father disappeared:
Near the middle of JULIA VANISHES, there is a scene where Dek and Julia break into the mysterious Mr. Darius’s room to try and figure out exactly who and what he is. In my first draft, Gregor did this with her. My brilliant agent, Steve Malk, suggested it would work better if it was Dek with her instead, and the result is one of my favorite scenes:
One of the pleasures of writing JULIA DEFIANT was taking my characters out of Spira City and sending them across the world.
I lived abroad for much of my twenties, and people sometimes talked about “culture shock” – the difficulty of adjusting to a new context, new language, all the rules different from those you’ve always known. Some people have a hard time with it, while others really thrive. In Yongguo, Dek begins to thrive.
NEXT WEEK: Meet Esme, crime boss of the Twist, who took seven-year-old Julia in and raised her to be the perfect thief and spy.