In the not so distant future, mankind has been brought to the brink of extinction…and to the brink of the world. Ripley Prior, our protagonist, is a mid-level, pencil-pushing worker in Sigil, the authoritarian power that rules over Santuary, a domed city located in Antarctica.
Ripley has always dreamed of being an Engineer, but it wasn’t meant to be. Those jobs are always reserved for the Elves, who have the longevity and know-how to run the city without the need for the help of Human wannabes. Day after day, he records numbers from vital system gauges, wishing he had the ability to do more with his life.
Ripley’s best friend, Felix, is an unmotivated Halfsie (half-Human, half-Elf). He’s the one who is always stirring up trouble, which inevitably involves Ripley. But when our story begins, his benign shenanigans give way to something much more ambitious…
It was raining, that first day at the library. Sheets of water poured down the panes of glass, obscuring my view of the swollen river just beyond the parking lot. The chair was comfortable, and a warm coffee kept me company as I absent-mindedly chewed on the end of my (very expensive!) Apple Pencil. The first scene was so simple to write. It had been written for a long time, but had never been put to paper. I knew exactly how it would end, too. But would everything in between be up to snuff?
What began as a short story quickly outgrew the mold into which I had hoped to place it. As the story progressed, the world became larger. The background, lore, and plot lines blossomed into an impressive array of colorful sticky notes that adorned my bedroom wall. The more I wrote, the more the characters came alive. In the end, the dialogue practically wrote itself. I wrote it in two parts to begin. It is the first in a series, and while I slog through the tedious stages of editing, arguing with my husband over the necessity of commas after conjunctive adverbs, I have already begun crafting the next novel. I cannot wait to share my work with you!
Dear friends, where shall we begin? At the beginning? It’s a long story. How long do you have? Perhaps another time, then.
Do you have children? Do you remember life before them? For me, I remember it as if it were a dream. It’s a little hazy. I’m certain it happened. I can remember specifics, I have some fond memories, and some sad ones. But to really think about it, to really imagine life before these little people even existed, that’s more difficult now. From the first moment you become a parent, it’s as if they’ve always been there. As if they’ve always been a part of you. A piece of the puzzle that had been hiding under the couch, which once found completed a picture that you didn’t even know you’d been creating. Sure, you had a general idea. You’d placed all the edges, painstakingly put all the pieces right side up, pressed them together in faith, with nothing more than a promise of the vision they would reveal. And yet, even if the picture seemed clear without that piece, once it has been set into place, that is when you are able to see it as it was truly intended to be.
Writing a story, breathing life into the characters, is a lot like that, too. There are certainly similarities. The same thing happens when you read a book that really resonates with you. The characters, the world, the adventures…once they’re there, once you’ve written it down or read it, you can’t unread it. They will always be with you, forever a part of you. Think of your favorite story. Can you remember a time before you had been to Mordor and back again with Frodo and Sam? Before sneaking through the wardrobe with Lucy into the wondrous land of Narnia? Before you loved to hate Professor Snape? The stories that we read become a part of us, a thread in the tapestry of our lives. They can make us feel deeply, and run our emotions through the ringer.
I hope you enjoy reading Antiquity’s Gate someday as much as I am enjoying writing it. Thank you for sharing this adventure with me!