Monthly Archives: April 2017

Who Are These People I Made Up Anyway? Part 2: Dek

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:

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From Julia Vanishes

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:

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From Julia Vanishes

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:

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From Julia Vanishes

One of the pleasures of writing JULIA DEFIANT was taking my characters out of Spira City and sending them across the world.

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From Julia Defiant

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.

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From Julia Defiant

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.

Who Are These People I Made Up Anyway? Part 1: Wyn

Last night I was putting my son to bed and he said, “It’s amazing that you’ve been writing your whole life, and you’ve only written two series.”

Apparently my kids think I’m a slacker! I’ve written enough almost-novels that amounted to nothing to find it miraculous and wonderful when something hangs together start to finish and all of this writing turns into an actual novel. All the more miraculous and wonderful when real live book-making professionals turn it into a beautiful book so that people can buy it in a store or borrow it from the library, take it home, and read it!

JULIA DEFIANT will be out in the world in just 9 weeks, joining JULIA VANISHES on the bookshelves, and it has had some lovely reviews already. It is the second in a trilogy about sixteen-year-old thief and spy Julia: her crisis of conscience when her job requires something terrible of her, her struggle to find out who she is, why she has the ability to vanish from sight, and how best to use her abilities in a morally tangled world. Her relationships are what form the beating heart of the story – with her brother, her lover(s), her band-of-thieves/family, her enemies, and the people whose trust she betrays. The great joy of writing a sequel is that you know your world and your characters so well at this point. Having built the playground, you get to play on it.

Every week until the release of JULIA DEFIANT (and the paperback of JULIA VANISHES with a lovely new cover!), I’ll introduce one character from the books here, via 5 short quotes from both books, starting with Wyn, today.

Wyn is Julia’s faithless lover, a member of her gang of thieves and spies, and an artist at heart. Here are a few snippets to give you a sense of their relationship and its evolution across the first two books in the series:

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From JULIA VANISHES

JULIA VANISHES opens with them as a couple, but Julia is busy with her job at Mrs. Och’s house, leaving Wyn with too much time on his hands. Hot tip, though: don’t try cheating on an invisible spy.

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From JULIA VANISHES

A moment of honesty. Maybe too much honesty?

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From JULIA VANISHES

Sometimes you have to cross half the world with your ex to try and find a monk who might be able to take a fragment of a powerful magic book out of a child… it gets complicated.

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From JULIA DEFIANT

Still hard to say goodbye…

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From JULIA DEFIANT

NEXT WEEK: Meet Julia’s brother Dek through 5 quotes. xo