Updated: Mar 12, 2020
It's that time again, where I spill my inner writerly thoughts out and hope at least one person out there on the internet is vaguely interested in them.
A while back I talked a little about my upcoming novel Tide, and here I am again with another sneak peek for you all. With just details left to refine before we count down to release day I figure it's time to introduce you guys to our heroine, Hania.
When an inhuman army kidnaps her brother and leaves her village ransacked, 18-year-old Hania goes against all better judgement and sets off to rescue him with just a bow, a bag of supplies, and a horse known for not letting anybody ride her. But she knows she's no match for an army on her own, and even if she was she has no idea where to start looking for them. Her only hope? An imprisoned selkie desperate for freedom. So, like any self-respecting hero lost in the woods, she strikes a deal that leads her to a bigger adventure than she ever imagined.
Clever, realistic, and determined to save her brother at any cost, Hania throws herself into a world beyond anything she could have prepared for and embraces it all, good and bad, in order to survive. Even when it throws questions of who she is and where she belongs at her.
Hania's a fun character for me to write, because she's so grounded and...well, normal, really. She's not dreamy or naive, but she's not cynical or harsh. She takes things as they come and does her best to keep her head in even the very dangerous situations she sometimes finds herself in. And she has so much love for the little, beautiful things in the world, and for the people who mean something to her.
Check out some music that helped inspire Hania:
Meet Hania in the sneak peek below!
I closed my eyes against the thought, shaking it out of my head. I’d told Aven I wouldn’t break, and I’d meant it. I’d told him I wouldn’t stop until I got my brother back. I’d promised it to Edrick, to Papa, to Inka. I wouldn’t sit here and let my friend be tortured and killed. I wouldn’t sit and let it happen to myself.
Only wood and rope were stopping me. Only wood and rope. Not people. Not weapons. Things. Objects I could break and bend to what I needed.
I turned a full circle, studying every inch of the walls. They were made with thick, heavy branches bound together with knots and loops as thick as my wrists. Sturdy enough that the animals couldn’t break their way out. If they couldn’t, I couldn’t, not with my bare hands.
I turned my attention to where the walls met packed dirt. The cages weren’t simply set on the ground—that would be too easy. They continued down into it, the vertical branches sharpened into stakes and firmly planted. I took a corner and dug my fingers into the dirt, wincing as my nails bent back with the pressure. But the hard dirt cracked and caved and I scooped a handful loose. Then another. Another.
In seconds I was digging like an animal, ignoring the stones that cut into my hands and the dirt that ground its way into my wounds. I flung handfuls of dirt away and pressed down along the line of the branch, until it wobbled when I pushed against it. Loose.
Onto the next branch. I knelt again and dug. And dug. Until my arms were caked in dirt to the elbows and my fingertips were stinging and bleeding, and the wall trembled. I backed up opposite it to brace my back against a still-sturdy wall, and took a deep breath. And kicked.
The wall shook and tilted.
Another kick, driving every ounce of desperation in me into the loose wall. It swayed a little more. Another. One of the thinner branches creaked and bent. Another.
The space between the ground and the lowest horizontal branch widened. Not much, but enough. I hoped. I scrambled to it, crawling on my belly like a worm, and wriggled beneath it.
My head fit through. My shoulders. I squeezed my arms ahead of me, sucked in my stomach, and pulled myself forward by only my bleeding fingertips. I dug the toes of my boots into the ground and pushed. If they wanted to call me animal, I would escape like an animal. I would scrabble in the dirt. Whatever I had to do.
The rough bark scraped against my back and I bit down on my lip to keep myself quiet. A little further.
Warm blood rolled down my back. I ignored it. One more push.
I braced one foot against a loose stake and pushed off of it. The wall shook and tilted again, and the pressure pushing me against the ground was gone.
I didn’t let myself lay there and savor the moment, even if I wanted to rest and catch my breath. There was no time. My veins sang with adrenaline and I bolted to my feet and towards the fire.