I want to tell new stories with an old soul.
I want to look forward, to hope and dream, to gaze through the fog to the certain dawn of the true New World. I’m optimistic. In a big way.
I want to make vintage adventure.
Stories matter. Fiction shapes our affections like nothing else can. This is perhaps especially true when we are young. But why new stories with an old soul?
My friend (and the illustrator for my books) Zach Franzen is kind of a genius. When I run out of clever things to say, I usually pull out a Zachism and run with it. (Warning: It’s about to happen again.) He has been a cheerleader for the “New Stories, Old Soul” side from the beginning. He contends that most publishers don’t want to release new books with old virtues. If people want those, it’s easier and cheaper for the publishers to just release the old books again. So the virtues featured in those books are for now, he says, trapped in amber. They are museum pieces. So Zach has been a partner in more ways than just by illustrating my books. He’s been an encouragement, believing that those old virtues can live on in new adventures—that they can be seen in the wild again.
I want to uncork some vintage adventure for a generation of thirsty young souls.
When I wrote The Green Ember for my children, I hoped they would love it and that the story would capture their hearts. I’m so grateful that it did and that they wanted to give others a chance to enjoy it too. When we were finally able to share it with other families, we began to hear that many of them also seemed to resonate with this new story and its old soul. That made us glad, like seeing the look on a dinner guest’s face who loved the food and enjoyed the laughter at the table. We shared something of our family’s life and other families welcomed it into their own homes and hearts. What an honor. What a privilege!
I want to keep doing it. So I wrote The Black Star of Kingston for my kids. And for all the kids who loved (or might love) The Green Ember. And now I want to share Ember Falls with you. My kids loved it, and I hope yours do too.
Ember Falls is a story and that’s it. It’s not a tricky vehicle to teach truth. But I hope it is truthful. It’s not meant to sneak in a moral lesson, but I hope it burns with the fire of moral imagination.
I hope you enjoy it.
Ember Falls will launch on Kickstarter on Monday, May 16, 2016.
Note: This is adapted from a piece that first appeared at my friend Sally Clarkson’s blog.