It's kind of a fluke that Through the Veil even happened. I got the original flash of inspiration not long after coming home from an SSF convention where I'd gone to a world-building panel. I only went because I wanted to see one of the panelists. I didn't think I'd need to build worlds from scratch, since I was more of a modern-day, almost-real-world kind of writer. (Yes, that requires world building too, but less.)
Anyway, I thinking about the panel and a thought crossed my mind: If I were going to create my own fantasy world, what would it be like? A moment later, a scene flashed through my mind of a girl in Renaissance-esque clothing running up a hill in tears, looking back at a walled city, and disappearing – then reappearing in a big-city penthouse.
Right away, I knew a lot about her. She was a violinist (like I used to be, but a whole lot better.) She loved the fantasy world and was miserable at home. She used music to cross between the worlds.
I knew a lot about the other world, too. The city she visited was all about order and somewhere in that dimension was a region that was all about chaos. (As a long-time Dungeons & Dragons geek, I'm fascinated by those ideas as well as the difference between law and justice.) Music was supremely important there, and her exceptional talent gave her a special status.
I settled on the name Dedra for kind of a funny reason. A Ouija board once told me I'd have a daughter with that name. It was wrong. But in thinking about a name, I was going over some I'd considered for my daughter, it came to me and I decided it was perfect. So, in a way, it was a self-fulfilling prophesy.
I immediately started writing her story. A few scenes in, back to the fantasy world, I asked myself, "What's unique about this world?" The character was looking over the city at night and I thought about what would be visible in a world without electricity. It came to me – what if music is visible?
I wrote more, then put it away. I didn't have much time to write as it was, and I had, months earlier, started a book that was slowly plodding along.
As it turned out, both projects sat for months until I decided to take a step back from an organization I was involved in that had sucked up all of my time. I told myself that was my year to finally get a novel written or admit that I wasn't going to do it.
I took part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that November to make myself write every day instead of here and there as the mood struck. I read through the earlier project and realized my heart wasn't in it. Then I came across Dedra's story and read what I'd written. It was better than I'd remembered and, even better, I was excited to write it.
I met the NaNo goals and kept going, through December and into January, when I finished it. After lots of editing, it was picked up by Sky Warrior Books. Now I'm polishing up the sequel so I can get it to them soon, and I'm about to jump into the final book in the trilogy.
It's still kind of surreal to me that this book even happened. It makes me realize how important it is to open yourself to different kinds of ideas, even if you don't think they pertain to you.
Adrienne Dellwo lives in Washington state, where she works as a freelance medical writer, writes and produces indie films with her husband, and is raising a son and daughter who keep life magical. She's had short stories published by Alliteration Ink, Local Hero Press, Siren's Call, and DarkFire Fiction. Her first novel, Through the Veil, is available from Sky Warrior Books.