Isi: Some readers of Goose Girl have told me they were disappointed in Isi's portrayal in this book. She found a strength in Goose Girl and in this book she seemed weak. But she never seemed weak to me. She has power, and sometimes there are consequences to power. But I still find her remarkable.
Enna's brother: Ooh, found some early notes that had Enna’s husband (instead of her brother Leifer) discovering the vellum and fire-speaking. Interesting! I’d forgotten that originally I’d thought she got married and moved back to the Forest. Now I can’t imagine it that way.
The first battle: I think originally I thought this scene would be the midpoint of the book, but I have an outline that splits it into the four parts it is now, so I think I realized before too long that this battle was the catalyst for Enna's story, not the midpoint.
The king: I know we didn't know him well, but I was very sad to lose him. He didn't die in my original outline, but he does in the first draft. A story must always raise the stakes, make the choices that will most challenge the main characters.
War: The descriptions of killing are a bit brutal. But in a book about war, I don't want to be responsible for glamorizing violence. This book has been criticized for being too graphic. It may be for some, and I totally respect that response. But I'd rather err on the side of truth. War is graphic. I don't think the description is sensationalized. If anything, I resisted going into too much detail.
The ending of this chapter gave me chills. If I don't have a reaction to the writing, I can't expect my readers to. Enna Burning is probably my most dramatic book. I was an exquisitely dramatic and romantic teenager. This story really speaks to that part of me. I dug in and went all out. I know this book made many uncomfortable, being too dark for some. Those who told me that, however, were all adults, usually mothers. I finished the final draft of this book before I gave birth to my first child (literally one week before) and I’ve wondered how different this book might have ended up if I’d been a more sensitive, less dramatic mother when I wrote this, rather than a young woman channeling my teen self.
Lily asks, "Would you say research is always vital when writing a novel? I have a hard time knowing where to look for what I want, so tend to push research aside." Yes, it's always vital. I tend to do minimal research before I begin. After I have a draft or two, I do more research, allowing the needs of my story to direct the research. I don't write non-fiction or historical fiction, where the research directs the story.