* * *
Did you do your assigned reading? Yes or no, it’s okay, because I’m gonna give you a recap!
RECAP: Chapters 1-6
Chapter 1: Ana goes to visit her mother’s grave before school, to tell her mother that she’s been seeing Sura: the demons from the stories her mother used to tell her as a child. While she’s there, she sees a shadowy figure across the cemetery and something happens that literally makes her heart stop–and it seems like all of this happens to the shadowy figure at the same time.
Chapter 2: MEET KYLA! She’s a badass and we love her, and she is Ana’s best friend in the entire universe. Kyla is trying to convince Ana to go to the spring formal dance because Kyla (who skipped 8th grade and is now a year ahead of Ana) is going away to college next year and wants to make the most of her time with Ana between now and then. It takes some effort, since Ana was at homecoming freshman year when she found out her mother had passed away in hospice. But Ana loves Kyla like a sister, and she agrees to go–even though school dances are the last thing on her mind these days.
Chapter 3: This may seem like a throwaway chapter, with nothing in it but a class debate about whether or not fate is real, but Ana’s statements in this chapter bear significant weight when it comes to how Ana gets from the end of The Hierophant to the beginning of The Tower. Just sayin’! Also, we meet Andy, who is a bit of a snake.
Chapter 4: Ana spaces out in class and thinks about her mother’s clan, the Ouros, who were a group of travelers that disowned her mother when she married an outsider. They’ve rejected Ana, too, it would seem, and now there is no one in the world who can answer all her questions about the things she keeps seeing. While she’s spacing out, she looks outside and sees a group of super-creepy Sura standing in the shadows. One of them smiles at her!
Stressed out with no one to turn to, Ana skips lunch and goes to play her violin. That’s the only way she’s been able to diffuse this weird, rushing feeling in her bones that’s been bothering her for a while now…
Chapter 5: Ana…doesn’t really fit in. She’s over six feet tall with bold red hair and everyone knows her as “the girl whose mother died,” among other less savory nicknames. But Kyla is the most popular girl in school, and Kyla loves Ana to death (they’ve been besties since they were babies), so the others try to include her, too.
Chapter 6: Meet Abe, Ana’s adorable, protective, loving, widowed father. <3
* * *
So, there is a lot of important information in the opening chapters and I obviously didn’t list it all in the recap. I’m going to tell you right now from an insider’s perspective what info to keep in mind when you start The Tower:
-The protective stones and coins left on Ana’s mother’s grave after the funeral
-Ana’s rejection of the man AND what happens in the cemetery (she is so not here for this drama)
-Ana and her father’s shared anger management issues
Just some important things to keep in the back of your head!
Some fun facts:
–The Hierophant is the first officially young adult book I’ve ever written! I’ve always written about young adults, but I didn’t know there was a whole “genre” for it until I was in college. There were many space operas written in middle school and high school with teenage heroes and heroines, but I don’t know if any of those will ever see the light of day…
–The Hierophant is set in the very real Village of Williamsville, in a suburb of the city of Buffalo, New York (yes the one with all the snow and chicken wings). This is where I actually grew up! Ana goes to my actual high school, and [SPOILER ALERT] nearly drowns in the same creek that I used to swim in/jump into fully clothed, on a dare. In fact, everything I mention about the school, the cemetery, the creek–the whole natural setting–is or was at some point actually there. Why did I choose this? Well, because this is a novel that was brewing in my head when I was young enough to frequent those places mentioned. The story just didn’t find its flavor until I was long gone.
-If you have ever wondered: I absolutely am aware that the main character from Fifty Shades of Grey has the same first name as Ana :P THE SIMILARITIES STOP THERE, I PROMISE YOU. (And no, I haven’t read that book, and no, it in no way influenced my naming. The very first draft of this novel was written in 2008, and no names have changed from that version even if everything else has).
* * *
And now, if you’ve read this far, here’s a “treat”: a video of me reading a bit of chapter 1, talking about dead moms, and sharing some personal information about one of the most influential moments of my adolescence. Step into the confessional! (Forgive my gravely voice, I filmed this at 6:30 in the morning.)
That’s all for today! Remember you can chat with me and others on twitter using the hashtag #ArcanaRA. Send me your questions and comments! I wants them all!
Tomorrow: Chapters 7-10!