I’m so excited that Changers: Manifesting Destiny is going to be published, quite possibly this summer, and I wanted to share some of where the story came from. It’s a confluence of a couple things, actually. First of all, it began as a flash fiction piece titled “Secret Admirer”:
“Who’s it from?” Cee asked. She held the delicate silver chain in her splayed fingers, the key pendant dangling in front of her nose. The diamond at its center flashed hypnotically.
Marcus shrugged and took a seat across the table. “A lot of people like you.”
“Yeah, but not a lot of them could buy me something like this.” Cee returned the necklace to the cotton bedding of the little red box. “And why did you have it?”
“Because no one would dare try to get into your locker.” A corner of Marcus’s mouth twitched in humor. “Even with as nice a key as that one.”
Cee was forced to acknowledge his point; her locker was known for booby traps both physical and magical. She eyed Marcus suspiciously. “It wasn’t you?”
He held up his hands as if to surrender. “You know me well enough to tell when I’m lying.” He opened his eyes wide for her to read them, but Cee didn’t really have to. Marcus was her best friend, and sweet, a poet at heart—and not at all interested in girls. Though Cee wouldn’t have put it past him to buy her a Valentine’s gift, if only to keep from having to listen to her whine if she didn’t get any.
Of course, now Marcus was going to have to listen to her fuss over who had given her this one.
“It was in your locker?” Cee asked him, all business now, ready to cull the facts.
Marcus nodded as he picked at his salad.
“What kind of charms do you keep on it?”
And now Marcus laughed. “None. If someone wants my school books, they’re welcome to them.”
“I need to see the scene of the crime.”
Marcus looked up from his lunch. “What, now?”
But Cee was already on her feet, taking her tray to the trash bin.
“There’s nothing,” Cee marveled. She ran her hands over the locker a fifth time. There had to be something, some little thing she was missing . . .
“Are you going to wear it?” Marcus asked suddenly.
“Not until I know who it’s from.” Cee’s hands paused in their search, hovering over the combination lock. “What . . .?”
Marcus leaned in to look. “Not magic.”
“Why?” Cee asked. “Why physically break into a locker if you could just . . .” Her eyes met Marcus’s.
“Justin?” he suggested. Justin was one of the slower students, not terribly gifted at magic. It would have been like Justin to force a locker rather than charm it open.
But Cee kept staring into Marcus’s eyes.
“Not Justin?” he said at length.
“Marcus,” Cee breathed, “have you morphed yet?”
Marcus flinched at the deeply personal question. “No one morphs at our age.”
“Are you sure?” Cee pressed.
“Of course I’m sure. That’s really rude, Cee. I know we’re friends, but—”
“Don’t panic, Marcus,” Cee said gently, leaning in for a closer look. “But someone else is in there.”
This was a tossed-off Valentine’s Day piece from a few years ago, but I always suspected there was more to these characters and this story. And though the characters have changed quite a bit, I think this scenario may have existed in their past—that is, in the time before Changers begins.
Cee I always clearly envisioned as having a blonde bob. Marcus is loosely based on Nicholas Rowe circa Young Sherlock Holmes (regular readers of mine will know that’s been my favorite movie since childhood).
The novel was also sparked by something my three kids have decided: that I am a dragon disguised as a human. And that they might also be dragons, too! I’ll leave it to you to read the book and see how that plays in, but I can say Livian (my dragon) has been a lot of fun to write. I’m currently working on the second book in the trilogy, Changers: The Great Divide.