Meet Katharyn Blair.
The Guest Post.
I was sitting at my desk at my job as an intern for my city’s Parks and Recreation department when I first saw Vesper Montgomery. She was standing in a cathedral, the multi-hued light of the stained glass on her face. She had long blonde hair that was braided back over her shoulder, and she wore armor.
I stopped what I was doing (probably working on a memo, or something, since I had quit my fancy job working for 20th Century Fox so that I might have any time to write, and that meant taking a job as my city’s parks and recreation intern. It was not like the show.) and sunk into the image swirling around in my mind.
Who the heck are you? I wondered. Because, mind you, I was working on an entirely different novel. I had different people in my head. (That novel is called The Breath of Bones, and it’s the start of a duology that comes out from Penguin in Winter 2020!) I don’t know how many of you have felt this strange phenomena of hearing from a completely different character while working on a separate WIP, but it feels a little like cheating.
But in this case, I was unfaithful. (Sorry, Eerie & Co.)
I jotted down some notes about Vesper, not giving her too much time, since I had just left my first agent and was getting ready to query again with my new WIP. I put her Vesper in a drawer and promised someday.
Turns out, Someday was a lot sooner than I thought. I queried with my book, The Breath of Bones, and signed with Brianne Johnson of Writers House. After some light edits, we went on submission. One of the (brilliant) things my agent does is attach a questionnaire with the submission so that the editor gets an idea of who the author is. One question is… what are two other ideas you’re thinking about writing? So, I wrote down a couple sentences about Vesper’s story.
HarperCollins called a week later. After a lot of back and forth – we landed somewhere awesome and strange. They decided Harper wasn’t the home for Breath of Bones. But, not unlike what happened to me as I sat at my desk in City Hall the year before – they had caught a glimpse of Vesper, and they wanted me to write her story.
I was floored. Confused, and honestly? Stoked.
Vesper had been pacing the back of my mind for months, waiting for me to get to her. I knew she had a backstory, and I knew she’d gone through some rough stuff. I knew she was in love, that it was tearing her apart, and that she was an overall badass.
So I dove in, and that WIP became what is now known as The Beckoning Shadow.
Turns out Vesper doesn’t wear armor, but does wear sparring gloves – she learns MMA fighting in preparation for a deadly tournament where the winner can undo a tragedy in their lives. She has friends, too – and some of them are so much louder than her, and much more demanding.
I thought it would be years before I got to her. I thought I knew exactly how it was all going to pan out, but I’m so thankful that I was surprised by this, because it makes sense. I’ve been nothing but surprised by Vesper since the moment we met.
I hope the readers feel the same way, too.
THE BECKONING BONES Releases… Today!