Original ending: Enna gives up her powers entirely. That was what I was writing toward in the first draft, but I eventually discovered it wasn't the best story. I also considered ending it in her death.
Found this note I apparently never incorporated in the story: "Mimicbeetles introduced, mimic sounds of men or Finn coming."
The ceremony: I was always curious about these verses from Isaiah in the Old Testament (which is generally poetic and full of strange and interesting images):
6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar;
7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
This ceremony seemed like something the fire worshippers might believe in.
Wind and fire: In an early draft, my editor was not on board with the wind/fire solution. She thought I should change it to rain/fire. I thought it was working until her comment, which made me look closer and work harder. I decided not to take her exact advice but it was still helpful because she pushed me to make work what I wanted to have happen. I deleted most of it and rewrote the whole thing. And then again. And again. I overwrote and then deleted liberally. And then wove strings throughout the entire book that helped lead up to the moment when Isi and Enna teach each other their languages. And now it's 10x stronger. Reminds me of what others have said, "If someone says something's not working in your manuscript, they're always right. If they tell you how to fix it, they're always wrong." I don't like "always" but mostly I think that advice is true.
Nicole asks, "I was wondering what your favorite book is, outside of those which you've written?" I don't have a favorite book. I don't have a favorite anything. I like choices! But the first book that popped into my mind when you asked that is I Capture the Castle, which is a book I completely adored until the last page, and then I was so upset by the abrupt, unclosed ending that I couldn't deal. That book taught me a lot about what I love as a reader and what I don't. Highly recommend it for both reasons.
Eliza asks, "Sorry to hijack the Enna discussion, but I have another EAH question. Are Apple and Daring siblings?" No, that would be weird! Apple inherits her mother's story, but her father (the previous Prince Charming) doesn't have a son to inherit his. I explain more in a short story about Dexter that's coming out this fall in the Once Upon a Time collection, but the Charming family is huge, lots of branches, and there are plenty of prince charmings to take up those roles so there's no incest!