- Chris Fenwick
An Eagle's Nod
Save for the amount of time it takes, it’s harder to write a blog than a novel. Why? Because a novel is made up and a blog is not. In a blog, if it is to be any good, you have to be authentically yourself. It is for this reason alone that it has taken me this long to sit down and begin this.
But, if I get past the “vulnerability hangover” (Brene Brown), I have a lot to say about Wolf and the whole State Changers series.
“Its harder to write a blog than a novel.”
Writing this series was so much fun. Actually, more fun than I often felt I deserved. I mean, isn’t it lazy, or irresponsible to write for the shear pleasure of it? You know, you can’t make any money at art and if you enjoy it, it must be wrong in some way. But, no matter, I came back to this series again and again, compelled to tell Casidhe’s story.
I talk about Casidhe as if she is a real person because, she very nearly is, in my mind. She’s grown up during our time together and I am very proud of the woman she has become. Does that sound arrogant? If you’ve ever attempted a novel, you’d know it isn’t. From someplace deep inside, characters emerge onto the page and they often surprise you. I take credit for Casidhe and her life, but I don’t really know how I can. Casidhe, Dana and all of the State Changer’s characters are a mystery to me and I feel profound gratitude to be the conduit for their existence.
The idea for the State Changers series came to me a couple of years ago, and then finally started to take shape in an extended outline that I poured over and researched for months. I even got the first act of the first book written in rough form but then, my brother got sick. Cancer claimed his life two summers ago and that event hijacked my heart and mind for months during and afterward.
When I returned home, the mourning continued. Everyone’s process is different. Mine resulted in new floors in our living room and office. Newly painted ceilings and the first three books in the series. I actually finished book one: Wolf and wrote the next two books in two months.
Maybe I was escaping the pain of my brother’s death, but it felt more like I was channeling the grief into something else entirely. It is more than a little ironic that my brother would never have read these books. But I choose to think he is more accepting where he is now.
If you read my first novel, “the 100th human” published in 2006, don’t expect this novel to continue that story. The genre is different. The story is different. I am different. I often wondered all those years between published novels if I had another book in me.
In early January of 2019, when I finished Wolf’s first draft, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I had been listening to Jennifer Thomas’ song, “Secrets” during the writing of Wolf. That song like no other, took on the dimensions of the story. The sadness, the struggle and the triumph. On that cold winter morning, sitting by myself in my living room, the final words typed out onto the page, I asked Alexa to play that song and turned up the volume. As the melody reached its peak, with tears streaming down my face, I stared out my front bay window. I had done it. I had written another book. I was a writer. At the very moment of climax in the song, a bald eagle swooped down in front of my window as if, it were a messenger. I crumpled on the floor in sobs. Was that my brother? I took it as a nod from the Universe.
Since that moment, I have felt blessed to have this story, to know Casidhe and Dana, to be given the gift of such professional pleasure and to honor the passing of my brother the best way I know how. As I write this blog, I have only the final act of the final book to complete the series. They will be released over the next two years and I wish you some measure of that same pleasure as you read them. In deep gratitude, Chris