Recently I announced some of the news from Enclave Publishing, including the release of Dust by Kara Swanson, scheduled for July, 2020. Because this book, the first in the Heirs of Neverland duology, is only available for pre-order, the preview is not available yet.
I think it’s important when considering books we might like to buy, to know if the writer can actually write, to know it the story is one I’m interested in. I certainly can tell you about the story of Dust (or you can read it at Amazon), but can Kara Swanson write? And who is Kara Swanson? Important questions.
I’ll take those questions in reverse order. First, who is Kara Swanson. Here’s what she says about herself:
As the daughter of missionaries, KARA SWANSON spent her childhood running barefoot through the lush jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the fantasy genre.
Swanson is the award-winning author of The Girl Who Could See and Peter Pan retelling/sequel Dust (Enclave Publishing, July 2020). She helps young writers explore their passions as a faculty member of the Young Writer’s Workshop and also offers her own author coaching services.
Kara is passionate about crafting stories of light shattering darkness, connecting with readers, and becoming best friends with a mermaid–though not necessarily in that order.
You can connect with Kara online where she chats about coffee, fairy tales and bookish things on Instagram (@karaswansonauthor), Facebook (Kara Swanson, Author), and Twitter (@kswansonauthor)
I’ve actually met Kara, even worked on the SoCal Christian Writing Conference with her for a couple years. Further, I did a little editing for her a year or so ago. I can say, she is a remarkable young writer, a hard worker, willing to help others, and excited about speculative fiction. She’s a member of a number of Facebook speculative writing communities, including Realm Makers Consortium.
Kara is articulate, friendly, outgoing, responsible, committed to her family, willing and eager to meet others’ needs if she is able.
Clearly, this young writer is someone who makes a good friend. But can she write? Best way to answer that question is to give you a sample. Again, the preview for her new release is not available yet. But here’s an excerpt from a novella she released three years ago. The story is called The Girl Who Could See. Here’s the summary from the back cover copy:
All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?
Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.
Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.
And now, the excerpt.
On television crime shows, they never tell you how cold it is.
They might show the dimly lit room with the hard, uninviting chairs. Or the narrow table separating you from the elderly agent with stone-gray eyes. But a TV camera cannot fully portray the chilling experience of an FBI interrogation.
I rub my bare shoulders, fingertips even icier than the skin exposed by my red tank top. Brilliant move, Fern. Wearing a scarf but forgetting your jacket. Stifling a shudder, I meet the sharp gaze of Agent Barstow, who stand at attention across from me.
“I don’t know where you’re from, Miss Johnson, but in LA, state-of-the-art buildings don’t just crumble.” His voice is gravelly, matching the jagged lines of his dark skin and weathered face. “Especially federal buildings.”
I tug on my beige scarf. You have no idea.
His arms slowly unwind from his chest as he takes two steps toward me. “We’ve called in everyone to analyze this disaster, CIA, local police, firemen. Heck . . . we even called in NASA. No one can come up with a plausible reason why a skyscraper in excellent condition would be standing one minute and collapse the next.”
I fight the urge to bolt for the door as he leans down, palms flat on the table—so close I can make out the creases on his black suit.
“You warned us of an attack in that area over a week ago. How did you know?”
X X X X X
So, one last thing: what in the world is the new book, Dust, about? I mean, you can like an author, you can like the way she writes, but will you like this story? Here’s the snippet posted at Enclave:
The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale.
Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real—since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London… and a boy who shouldn’t exist.
Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins.
The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan—and herself.
Don’t forget: Dust is available for pre-order now.