The other day, I found an old notebook with the first chapter of Risking Honesty written in pencil. Sometimes the blank page at the beginning of a story can be a little intimidating; the flashing cursor on screen, the word counter very slowly increasing. Sometimes, handwriting is somehow more natural, easier to make a start, to get the creative river flowing. As Mark Boyle says in The Way Home, 'think twice, write once'.
The first few words of Risking Honesty were written in April 2018. Just as Hope and Harrison embark on a journey, so the creation of this book has been a voyage of discovery. It's taken less time than some stories, longer than others.
It all starts with Hope finding an injured hawk. The inspiration for this came from Tamara Pierce's Wild Magic, a beloved book I have read many times since I was a young adult, not dissimilar in age to the heroine, Daine. Divergence from there, with Harrison's character drawing on influences as diverse as the classic spy James Bond, Ilona Andrew's Hugh d’Ambray and Karen Marie Moning's Barrons.
Whilst Harrison is undeniably a strong character, driving the plot, it is ultimately Hope's story. It's her world which is turned upside down, her life so thoroughly disrupted. It's her courage and resilience we admire, her fortitude and curiosity we cheer.
Hope first entered the Ethra Born series as a new born baby near the end of Gathering Darkness. In Strengthening Spirit, we saw the beginnings of her power, the development of her character. Finally, in Risking Honesty she has her own adventure. She's all grown up, venturing out into the world, facing its dangers and revelling in its mysteries.
Risking Honesty will be released on 10th September in ebook and paperback formats. You can pre-order the ebook now!