As some of you may remember, I got the idea for Needle's Eye, which is now called WINTERSOUL, before we moved to Russia in 2012. I was freaking out about the move, a lot, and I decided that maybe I'd be a little less freaked out if I learned some cool things about Russian culture. Naturally I started looking into Russian folklore and fairytales, and when I came across the story of Kaschey the Deathless, I was fascinated. I'd never heard it before, but I thought Kaschey would make an excellent villain.
The protagonist, Akira, popped into my head out of nowhere. I'm still not sure why I decided she should be half Japanese-American and half Russian, or why she'd be into kenjutsu. Some characters just write themselves I guess. But I put the novel aside for quite a while after we moved to Russia, when I realized I didn't really know it well enough to do the setting justice. I didn't finish Wintersoul until March (Baby Will's impending arrival made for an excellent deadline), and I've been revising on and off since then. I guess the bottom line is, I wrote this novel to make the mental transition to living on the edge of Siberia a little easier. And it actually worked.
My dream now is to write a novel inspired by every country we live in. So I'm super excited to research Peruvian folklore and culture when we get there and come up with a really cool twist. I have learned my lesson, however: I won't be starting the next book until I've lived in Peru for a little while. At least incorporating Spanish into a novel will be a lot easier than Russian!
Head to some of my fellow Pitch Wars mentees' blogs to find out why they wrote their Pitch Wars novels: