My Book

So the book I have front and center right now is (currently) called The Matchmaker's Apprentice, and it's a young adult fantasy-adventure I like to think is in the traditions of Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley. Across the board, my readers said it reminded them of Jane Eyre and Mulan, with a few votes for Brave, too, so I took that description and ran with it. Here's my fancy-pants query pitch:

   Sixteen year old Sage Fowler is far too wild for a respectable marriage, but when the Matchmaker offers her a job, she jumps at the chance to escape her uncle. She turns out to be rather good at matching, especially when spying is involved.

   So when Sage and her employer set off for the kingdom’s high marriage conference, Sage travels among the selected brides, recording observations and information along the way. She befriends Ash Carter, a soldier from their ceremonial escort, and finds healing for the wounds left by her father’s death. When the escort’s commander discovers mysterious forces shadowing their group, he also realizes Sage is the key to understanding who their enemies are and what they want.

   Cut off and outnumbered, Sage and Ash become the commander’s most valuable assets in preparing for the first battle of a bloody civil war. But Ash is not what he seems, and as a treasonous trap closes around them, Sage learns the one she has come to trust the most has been lying to her the whole time.

Inspiration came while watching Mulan with my daughters. As a woman in the military, I always had a soft spot for the film, and in my opinion, Captain Shang was the swooniest Disney "prince" of them all. Anyway, I was sitting there, watching Mulan get dolled up for her interview with the woman who would judge her worthiness as a bride, and I started wondering if my parents would have made me go through that.

Probably not, I decided. My dad especially would think the idea ridiculous.

But what if it was the law? Maybe not even then. For reals. My dad would find a way. He would feel bound to challenge the law because it was so idiotic.

Okay, so maybe not the law, but what if it was the social convention, that it was taboo or scandalous to get married without a matchmaker? Dude, you just downgraded the situation, though you made it more realistic.

What if you as a daughter wanted to be matched? Doubtful. He'd raise me to think the system ridiculous.

And what if he died and left you in the custody of someone who believed in matching? Heh, THAT would be interesting.

And what if matching was actually well done? What if matchmakers were like EHarmony? That's kind of interesting, too.

That's a lot of power matchmakers could wield, especially in a society where women don't have nominal rights. Heck, you could raise or destroy a country if you made the right matches! I need a pen. NOW.

Many months and drafts and revisions later I had The Matchmaker's Apprentice. And in Fall 2017, YOU will be able to read it.

As a real book, with a cover and pages and everything!

I know, right?

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