On finding the sequel to Bones of Faerie: “A little blood seemed a small price to pay, for magic”

Faerie Winter comes out in paperback April 10! In the couple weeks leading up to its release, I thought I’d talk a little about some of my earlier conceptions of this sequel to Bones of Faerie. You can also win a copy of the Faerie Winter paperback–and of all the rest of my novels–here.


When I finished writing Bones of Faerie, I knew it was too soon to start working too hard on a sequel (first because I didn’t know if Bones of Faerie would sell, then because I didn’t know whether any future books in that world would sell), but I knew that I wanted to write one. Liza’s world haunted me, as surely as the opening scene that had led me to discover it once had.

It took me a long time to work out whose story that sequel would be, though.

Okay, it seems obvious to me now: all three books of the Bones of Faerie trilogy need to be telling Liza’s story. How could they not? But after finishing Bones of Faerie, I was very sure, for a while, that Liza’s story was done. Oh, sure, there was room for things to still happen in her life, but I felt like her arc had landed just where it needed to and that anything else was beyond the scope of the story–and also like by the end of the book Liza had become too powerful for a sequel. How could anything pose any real threat to her, as she stood at the end of the first book?

Those of you who have read Faerie Winter can take a moment to laugh now. 🙂

But back in the days after finishing Bones of Faerie, right before and after it sold as a standalone book, it was obvious to me I needed a new protagonist, and I decided on … Kimi.

You remember Kimi, right? Well, okay, maybe not. 🙂 Kimi is the girl in Bones of Faerie who complained about not having magic while her brother and best friend (that would be the healer Allie) both did, and who foolishly plunged through the plant Wall protecting her town in a fit of frustration and rebellion. When I wrote that scene–Kimi’s only scene–I wondered at first how Kimi could get through the Wall, which is carefully controlled by plant-speaker Karin. Liza wonders this, too, and comes up with her own explanations, which, as it turns out were wrong. Meanwhile I worked out the truth: Kimi was a new plant speaker, though she did not know it yet. And the next book would be her book.

Unlike Liza, Kimi had grown up in a town that embraced magic, and so she would be everything Liza wasn’t: fearless, in love with magic, filled with attitude, wearing thorns in her hair and probably dressing in black as well, and hating Liza, who readers would see only as a secondary character, because Kimi saw Liza as having taken Allie away from her. It all made sense to me.

Here’s an excerpt from the opening to what I imagined to be Kimi’s story, which for a while I actually was calling Thorns in Her Hair.


The green briar crept up my hand, cool green tendrils caressing my fingers, cool green vine spiraling up my arm. Thorns brushed my skin, too gently–just too gently–to draw blood. More tendrils burrowed through my sleeve, knitting their green threads into the coarse brown wool ones. Leaves tickled the back of my neck; the vine wrapped round and round, a living, breathing necklace.

“Grow,” I whispered to the plant. “Grow.” Power thrummed through the vine; small white flowers bloomed along the stem, along the back of my hand. Tendrils caressed my ears, wove their way into my hair. Any moment I would take root. Any moment I would share that pulsing power. Already I could hear my own heart out the same time.

“Stop,” a voice whispered. But the voice wasn’t mine, and it wasn’t the briar’s, so I didn’t have to listen. I trailed my flower bedecked fingers down my other arm, inviting the vine to follow, feeling the power grow as thorns tangled wool. I stretched my hands toward the sun, knowing they needed sun to grow.

Stop.” Sweaty hands grabbed mine; I sent thorns and stems against their grip.


The briar released me, green turning to winter brown and leaves and stems and thorns all fell dead to the earth. The power released me. I had no leaves, no flowers, no roots. I had nothing but my own human skin, pale beneath the evening spring sky.

Why did Karin always stop me just as things were getting interesting?

I pulled my hands away and glared up at her, glared past her at a wall of green vines that stretched toward the sky. Those vines didn’t die, not even in winter, now that we have winter again. The ground beneath them shivered a little; the dead green briar disappeared beneath into the soil, where they would melt back into dust, and one day grow again.

But not today. “I was fine.

“Kimberly.” Karin looked back at me, through silver eyes no more human than the briar was. “Look at your hands.

I looked. Thorns had dug into my palms, and they bled, even though I was the one who’d called those thorns to defend me.

Karin’s palms, of course, didn’t bleed at all.

“I think,” she said softly, “that we need to work more on control.”

“You always think that.”

“Perhaps there is a reason. Enough for now.” Karin brushed her hair back from her face. Hair clear as glass; if you held a strand up to the sun, the light would shine right through. When I was little, I tried to dye my own brown hair that color, not understanding my hair would never look like Karin’s did.

“You’ll get it,” she said. “It takes time, is all.”

Sometimes I wonder whether she thinks I’ll ever get it. Because I’m only human, after all.

“I think I did all right.” I rubbed my arms; the wool itched against them, and I realized the thorns had cut them, too.

I longed to have those thorns back again. A little blood seemed a small price to pay, for magic.


I continued on for a while, until Kimi’s magic really did get out of control, and injured Samuel, Allie’s father, who also plays a small (though larger than Kimi’s) role in Bones of Faerie. As I thought about the consequences of Samuel’s injury, which I wasn’t sure he’d survive, I realized I’d gotten this all wrong. The sequel to Bones of Faerie clearly wasn’t Kimi’s story after all.

It was … Allie’s.

So, I started over–my writing process is such that I don’t mind starting over–sure that now I was telling the right story.

I’ll talk about the Allie-POV version of the Bones of Faerie sequel in my next post on Faerie Winter.

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