On Thursday, the 5th of February, 2015, I completed the manuscript for my first novel, Nescada: Kindler of Flames. Even more than the joy, more than the thrill of that accomplishment, I felt … the relief. For there were times when I honestly thought she would never happen. There were times I had stopped working on her for years at a time. Times I thought maybe I wouldn’t actually finish her; and maybe she was never meant to be.
I began the Kindler of Flames manuscript on Wednesday, the 22nd of August, 2001. I wrote the first five chapters, the entire eight-chapter volume entitled House of Neotar, and the majority of what is now the last chapter, during my second year at the Barbados Community College. It was to chronicle, narrate, filter and adapt my experience with social segregation at that institution. I was an inexperienced seventeen year old girl, and I fell in love with a boy beyond my social schema.
The entire experience was so surreal, so beautiful and bittersweet, I wanted to capture it, to contain the mystery and the magick of it in a jar for only my eyes to see, whenever I took it out and peered at its light in secret. Needless to say I didn’t considering publishing what I had written at the time. Needless to say also, that my inexperience didn’t only extend into my love life, but also into my writing itself. For years I considered what is now the final chapter to be chapter three instead.
During the course of those years – four in all I believe – I put her away from me in order to complete my undergraduate studies at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus. That boy followed me there, and it took me seven years to detach myself from all that he had come to mean. By that time Nescada had taken on a life of her own, hardly even recognizable as her own origin story anymore.
Now she re-experienced the journey of Taerah Talavereis, an ice-hearted lunar deity, who travels across an entire star system – with a crew of unlikely and compelling companions – to face an ancient, otherworldly terror. Filtered through my fantastical sensibilities, those early life experiences at BCC, had now become the stuff of dreams, of melancholia and of myth.
I picked at her throughout my first two forays into the field of employment, the first being at The Barbados Advocate newspaper, the second at its sister company, Barbados Broadcasting Services – a local radio station. However it wasn’t until I met Sean ‘Testament’ Abbott, my husband, that I truly felt driven to focus on her with the single-minded intent to not only complete her, but to share her with the rest of the world.
Every mother loves her child, but there are moments of accomplishment on the child’s part that are truly special to her parent, filling them with untold pride and joy. I love Nescada, every single word, but I believe its the treatment of her thematic content that is her piece de resistance. Themes of alienation, isolation, loneliness and disconnection, of bitter hatred and being outcast, of being looked down upon and never seen. Themes of violation; the violations we allow, and the ones we have no choice in or control over.
Those are my themes, mine personally, and I got to explore them through myriad facets of my own personality. For I can be as ice-hearted as Taerah and as loyal as Xaeviere, as bubbly as Saeris and as kind as Kasura, as shy as Bentin, as violent as Rae, as wily as Sajhi, as depraved as Cero, as egotistical as Aedan, and as otherworldly as Sylvan. Needless to say Driana Devane gets her unadulterated badassery from moi too 😉
There are worlds within me, and worlds without, worlds only I can see, and it is my pleasure to open their gaetwaighs to you. The world as I see it in Nescada is not so different from the one I see here; as a matter of fact those worlds are influenced and inspired by this one, with specific emphasis and focus on the national islands of the Caribbean: St. Lucia, Venezuela, Dominica, Grenada, Trinidad, Haiti and my very own Barbados.
So what’s next? … A Year of Reading. Following is the list of #Readables I’ve compiled for the next 365 days of nothing but pure, undiluted, blissed-out reads; I’ll still be writing a bit, mostly reviews for the books I intend to devour, and blogging like this of course, but rather than rushing home from work to write Nesc, I’ll be rushing home to workout and read instead. Two recreational pastimes I sorely miss and need, especially working out, if I am to successfully, physically portray Taerah’s slender, subtle curves. My curves are not … subtle >.<
A Year of Reading
- Omar Kennedy, The Soltreian Chronicles
- Ross Chase, The Children of Promise
- Nathalie Andrews, The Thief of Red Mountain
- Ryk Brink, Michael’s Bones
- Tobias Buckell, Assorted
- Neil Gaiman, Assorted
- Brian Rathbone, Assorted
- Ben Galley, Bloodrush, Written
- Nat Russo, Necromancer Awakening, Road to Dar Rodon
- Cheryl S. Mackey, The Immortals
- Sebastien de Castell, Traitor’s Blade
- Daniel Arenson, Moth, Dragons Lost
- Patrick Rothfuss, The Slow Regard of Silent Things, The Name of the Wind
- Joe Abercrombie, Half A King
- Peter V. Brett, The Painted Man
- Robert Cargill, Dreams and Shadows
- Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus
- Nick Harkaway, Angelmaker
- Justin Cronin, The Passage
- Sarah Pinborough, Assorted
- Orson Scott Card, The Lost Gate
- Will Wight, Assorted
- David Eddings, Pawn of Prophecy
- David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks
- Michael G. Manning, Thornbear
- Lev Grossman, The Magicians
- K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
- Cherie Priest, The Inexplicables
- Joanne M. Harris, Gospel of Loki
- Naomi Foyle, Astra
- Stephanie Saulter, Gemsigns
- Assorted, Gods & Dragons
- Assorted, Epic
- A. Ray, The Saga of Menyoral
- Catrina Taylor, Birth of an Empire
- Margie Mack, Through the Woods
- Sourichi, The Scriptling
- Ann Hunter, Assorted
- VixenScarletta, Sa’Kreska
- XenaraDaolftan, Memories From Evil’s Land
- MewMewLuna7, Paranormal Detective: The Amnesiac Vampire
- Lostling, lostling, Writing Destiny
- RaeRivers, The Keepers: Sienna
- AsherTensei, Mana (Book One of The Mana Saga)
- Dcakers, Haven: A Stranger Magic (Book 1)
- Bdicocco, Control
- Lydiamillet, The Fires Beneath the Sea (A Novel)
- LucasJWJohnson, Azrael’s Stop
- JessicaBFry, Tue-Rah: Identity Revealed
- ZoraidaCordova, The Vicious Deep (Book 1)
- Dgladeroute, The Great Sky
- FebruaryGrace, Of Stardust
Between the numbered fifty-two and all the assorteds, this is a list of approx. one hundred books to read between now and February 2016, when I will begin the prep work for Nescada: Order of Evenwen, scheduled to officially commence in August of that year. In the meantime I have a pretty girl to get dolled up for the ball; for her publication and launch at Animekon Expo VI: Fantopia, 2015; for her betrothal into the world of hardass literary critics and lifelong fans and crewmen!
Anyway, I think I’ve prattled on for long enough, so … Welcome to Nescada, little one. Where there is beauty in chaos and decay, and you can never outrun it. Where you are a child of El, the Primodial, and you have nothing to fear. Where you can be a Kindler of Flame, and maybe even be a Keeper of Worlds. This story, she is a song I’m singing for you, and I hope her melody is all you were waiting for … And as always, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read this 🙂