This is a beautiful story about a teenaged mother, Emoni, who is trying to balance caring for her daughter and elderly grandmother, with school and her dream of becoming a chef. And also that cute boy that just turned up in her class.
Emoni is black and Puerto Rican, which I think might be the identity of the author as well (but I’m not certain). Her cultural heritage was so well woven into this story, particularly with all the food. I am 100% won over by food. It was just so well-written, so poignant and so refreshing.
Hello all! Today we’ve just got a quick book tag (does anyone even do these anymore? I’m so out of the loop) because we’re in the first few days of NaNoWriMo, which is always a bit of a slog, especially if you’re a slow writer like me. Anyway, this tag has been sitting in my drafts folder for months and months at this point, so I think it’s well and truly time that I posted it.
(Also, please let me know if you’re the creator of this tag! I stole it from somewhere and my sieve brain forgot where, I’m so sorry).
What Is Your Fantasy Origin Story (the first fantasy you read)
My mum loves fantasy, so most of my earliest reading memories involve fantasy. Probably the very first books I read (or were read to me) were The Chronicles of Narnia. Obviously I loved these and I was hooked from then on, I really didn’t stand a chance, fantasy was literally introduced to me in the womb.
After Narnia, I think was next introduced to The Magician’s Daughter, a self-published Australian fantasy trilogy, How To Train Your Dragon, The Little White Horse, and Emily Rodda’s books, including Rowan of Rin, The Key To Rondo, and of course the Deltora Quest series, the staple of every Aussie kid’s reading life. When I was in my preteens, I started on the Warrior Cats series, Rick Riordan, Lloyd Alexander, Stephen Lawrence, Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis’s adult fantasies.
Can you believe that next month is NaNoWriMo? I’ve been doing Inktober all month so I’m not sure my brain is quite ready to kick into gear and think about a completely different challenge just yet.
But, nevertheless, I’m here to introduce (or…uh reintroduce ) my NaNoWriMo novel for 2022. I’m going to be participating in the Know The Novel linkup, which is now five years old. Absolutely wild, I remember doing it for the very first time, so that makes me feel very old now. Anyway, let’s move on!
If you’re a dedicated reader of my blog, you may recognise this novel as my project from NaNoWriMo 2020, known then as “The Darkest Night”. Because yes, for the first time I am actually working on an established novel rather than a brand new first draft!
However, I’ve obviously developed this draft quite a lot since I pantsed it back in 2020, with absolutely no outline or anything. So I’m taking a second crack at this story to work on it some more and hopefully get a complete second draft (that has a more coherent plot line, fingers crossed).
Anyway, if you want to check out my original Know The Novel post for The Darkest Night you can find that here, and if you want to check out Christine Smith, who created this link up, you can do it here.
Let’s get into it!
What first sparked the idea for this novel?
The first inkling (pun intended) of this story came from listening to a YouTuber (I can’t remember who it was, so sorry about that) talk about and read excerpts from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings sequel, which he called “The New Shadow”. Unfortunately, Tolkien found the story bitter and depressing (fair enough) and abandoned it 13 pages in.
The story revolves around the land of Gondor, over a 100 years after the downfall of Sauron. Aragorn is dead, and his son now rules. But men have forgotten the true evil of the time when the Lord of the Rings ruled and have grown complacent, which disturbs the main character, Borlas.
Essentially, Borlas and a much younger man, Saelon, get into an argument about the true nature of evil, and Saelon mentions that a cult dedicated to the worship of orcs (and I suppose Sauron or Morgoth by extension) is now rising. Borlas immediately concludes that Saelon is part of this cult, which offends Saelon. Saelon invites Borlas to come to a clandestine meeting that night. Borlas is one of the very last people left who can remember life before the Great Peace, as it’s known, and he believes he would be able to recognise the scent of evil, so he agrees to come.
When he arrives at his home after his argument with Saelon, Borlas steps into his house and is immediately greeted by a “dead silence”, and he smells the old Evil “and recognised it for what it was”.
And there it ends.
Obviously that was not good enough for me, so I decided to finish it.
I know, I know, I said I wouldn’t. Mainly because I don’t have Amazon Prime and won’t buy it because I strongly dislike Amazon’s business practices. But in fairness, I found myself spending the entire school holidays away from home, housesitting for a colleague of mine who was on holidays.
I come from a big family, so I’m used to getting home from work and eating dinner with my family and spending the rest of the evening all hanging out together and talking or whatever. So when I found myself living as a lonely single, without even my dogs for company, I was like…well, what the heck do I do with myself? And it just so happens this particular household had their own Amazon Prime subscription.
Anyway, I have thoughts, which I’m now going to unload upon you, dear reader.