With the arrival of ARCs, my beautiful little book is one step closer to meeting the world. I’ve gotten some questions about it and how it relates to Salt & Storm, so here’s a getting-to-know-you guide:
Is it a sequel to Salt & Storm?
It’s a prequel! It’s set about seventeen years before the events of Salt & Storm, in the 1840s.
Why a prequel?
When my editor was talking about ideas for my next book, she asked me how I felt about writing another book set in Salt & Storm’s world. Salt & Storm has always been a standalone to me. I knew it was a complete story with a definitive end, and so I wasn’t interested in continuing that story.
But, I had been thinking in the back of my mind about the other Roe women. Their dreams and hopes, their stories. The history of the witches felt very rich and untold, and I was excited to jump back in and tell a new story with this same world.
So who’s it about? Another Roe witch?
Not quite. The main character is an eighteen year old boy named Mal. Mal, you may remember, is the ship captain Avery meets in Salt & Storm. He’s revealed to have grown up on the island and knew Avery’s mother, Essie, when they were both young.
I always dearly loved Mal’s character. He sort of came out of nowhere and turned out to be much more important than I could have imagined. Originally, he didn’t even have a name (Browncoats alert! I named him “Mal” after Nathan Fillion’s character in Firefly because yeah, of course I did), but the more I thought about him, the more I loved him.
When it came time to think about a prequel, his story felt really compelling. I also liked the challenge of not writing another Roe witch. While Essie’s story is lovely and she does play a big part in Mal’s life, if you’ve read Salt & Storm, you already know what’s happened to her.
Mal gave me a lot of freedom to explore other parts of the world, which Avery only mentions a few times in passing. The world of Salt & Storm and Drift & Dagger is a world of magic, and I was super excited to explore that.
Is this book set on the island?
Parts of it are, other parts take place all around the world: Boston, New York, London, Paris, Constantinople… If it was a glamorous world capital in the nineteenth century, chances are it makes an appearance in the book.
Oh yeah. Lots of magic.
Fewer whales. Originally I’d hoped to make Mal into a whale man so I could finally write some awesome whaling scenes. And I did write them! And they were super cool and great and I looooved them. But—they ultimately didn’t jibe with the story and ended up getting cut. It’s my hope and dream that I can release these scenes as a sort of alternate world bonus. I worked hard on learning all about whaling and sailing, and I want to share that with the world.
There is some romance, but I would hesitate to call this book a romance story. Mal’s a complicated character going through a lot of emotional turmoil. The relationships he has with other people and his own sense of identity play a huge role in the story. Some of those relationships are romantic, some are platonic. There’s love—and hate—in all forms in this novel, and Mal spends a lot of time and energy trying to figure out the boundaries and difference between the two.
Okay, so what’s it about?
Drift & Dagger is about Mal’s journey as an outsider in a world of magic. Mal was born a blank—a person invincible to magic. In a magic-obsessed community like Prince Island, blanks are the ultimate threat, because there’s a rumor that they can spread their immunity to other people. Mal’s must keep his blankness a secret or be labelled a monster, but when the one person he’s trusted to keep his secret—his best friend, Essie Roe—exposes him, he’s forced to leave behind the only home he’s ever known.
He makes a living as a hunter, someone who tracks down and sells magical artifacts, working with his charming but unscrupulous partner, Boone. When Boone tells him about a knife that has the power to steal magical abilities, rendering magic folk powerless, Mal decides to help him hunt it down. The knife will bring fame and fortune, but Mal has only one thing on his mind: revenge against the girl who destroyed his life.
Sounds great! How do I read it?
What a wonderful question! It will be out in stores September 8. If you’re feeling antsy, you can pre-order it right this second ( Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound). There are also some ARCs floating around; keep checking back for a chance to win one!
Thanks for learning more about Drift & Dagger. I love this book, and I’m thrilled to share it with the world!