Okay, so that was kind of cheesy, but if you have ever been to the Outer Banks during the winter season, you'd understand how book #2 - Windswept - came to have its name.
Midway through drafting this story, my characters departed for a safe house for candidates tucked away in the Outer Banks, a cluster of barrier islands off the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina. In my mind, I reached the line between sea and sand, the islands a few miles away, but I had no idea how to get them there. I felt stuck and uninspired. I had never made that trip before - and I couldn't picture it in my mind. Do they have to take a boat? What would that look like? So I booked a room at a hotel, grabbed two of my best friends, and set out.
Driving out over the Atlantic at night is the darkest dark I have ever seen. In the middle of a bridge, we stopped the car and turned the headlights out, and the blackness that swallowed us up seemed to somehow steal every sound, too. We were silent. Butterflies stirred in my stomach and I felt like the bridge under us was about to give way. We were alone, suspended over black water, and yet I felt like anything could strike us at any moment. It was the closest to a non-sensory experience I've ever had, and yet every nerve ending was firing. I can't explain how relieved I was to turn the headlights back on.
When we arrived and opened the car doors, we were immediately pummeled by wind on all sides. Each gust would throw sheets of sand across the ground, and even a week after going home I was digging sand out of my ears. The experience was incredible, but even now, four years later, what I remember most was that wind, constant and howling, and the morning we walked outside our hotel and the air was still. It was the most bizarre sensation, like sea legs come ashore. The sky was at peace, and yet I couldn't find my balance.
To me, that is the closest thing I can compare to how Tanzy feels when she finally arrives at the safe house in Carova on the Outer Banks. At last, she is surrounded by allies, by girls who know what she's seen, the war she's experiencing with herself. She's in the company of people who stand a chance of protecting and defending her, fighting alongside her. And yet, she feels more exposed and at risk than ever. She is standing on solid ground, but she feels like she's sinking faster with every step she takes. The coldest solitude is the one suffered in a crowd. It is deafening and silent, whirling and paralyzing, impossibly heavy, and yet a fear you could be swept away and no one would even notice.
Windswept relaunches - polished and updated - in just two days! Tomorrow, I will give some insights into what all changed in the revamp for book #2, and give details on the big giveaway happening this week - including a $50 amazon gift card - so be sure to check back!
Thank you for hanging tight on this ride with me.