Alchemy by Sheena Boekweg, Melanie Crouse, and Sabrina West
"Do you want me to be dangerous?" he asked, his voice husky and low.
I gulped, and for a moment I was incapable of speech. But he was quiet, waiting. "No. I don’t."
"Then I’m not dangerous at all," he murmured. His gaze moved from my eyes to my mouth. "You’ve never been safer than you are at this moment." I shivered as his breath tickled my skin. Our lips were mere millimeters apart when the sky shattered in a kaleidoscope of colored light.
We didn’t know how much we had to lose until we were infected with magic. Sam was in love, Juliette was the main caretaker for her siblings, and Ana and her dad planned the best parties in New York. But we lost it all when we were shipped to Chebeague, an exclusive school for newly infected mages.
Everyone knows about the mages, those who survive the infection and end up with magical abilities. We’ve seen the power of magic, the high-paying jobs, and the world fame. But we never saw the cost. We didn’t know we’d be forced to give up everything: sanity, family, even the right to talk on the phone.
We didn’t know mage was just another word for prisoner.
How we came to write Alchemy:
Once upon a time, there were some aspiring authors who wrote on a blog called The Prosers. (theprosers.blogspot.com) One day, Sabrina wrote a blog post about a book called Sorcery and Cecilia. Sabrina explained that:
"The authors wrote the book entirely by sending letters to each other from the point of view of their characters. The picked a setting ahead of time… and then were not allowed to discuss plot at all, just let it develop naturally. And yes, it has to be real letters, or else it’s not quite so fun to get the story in the mail."
Sheena was delighted with the idea, and asked if anyone wanted to try it with her. Both Sabrina and Melanie volunteered, and there we hit our first snag. How on earth does one write a cohesive story via letters sent between three people?
So we got together for a facebook chat where we brainstormed solutions. It took a few weeks, and false starts, but eventually Melanie mentioned a real boarding school for rich, troubled teenagers where they were required to write journal entries to their therapists in exchange for privileges, and everything took off from there.
We each picked a character. Sabrina chose Juliette, an angry, scared girl who just wants to go home. Sheena created Sam, a sexy but broken boy who doesn’t know how to function without his girlfriend, and Melanie created Ana, a gracious, yet opportunistic beauty who doesn’t have anything worth missing back home.
We added some secondary characters and a rich magical world, and began. For most of the book, we truly did send the letters via snail mail (although thank heavens we knew not to start anticipating them until we got a message on facebook saying they were on their way! How did people survive doing it the other way???) As the action started heating up at the end, we started sending our sections via internet, and that’s when we really hit our stride.
On the one hand, it is pretty frustrating when you think you know where you are going with a story, and someone (cough, cough, Sheena) careens off the path and turns the whole story line on its head. On the other hand, some of best parts of the book came when we were trying desperately to get the story back on track.The explanations we all had to come up with about why the stories turned out the way they did were so much fun! For example, if Sheena hadn’t had the characters try to escape, we would never have realized they were prisoners. Sometimes the ripples created waves that were better than what we had originally planned. It was exhilarating and magical, and it didn’t take long before we realized that this book wasn’t just fun, it was also going to be awesome enough to share with the world! We hope you love it as much as we do.
What is Alchemy about?
There are three main characters: Sam, a former baseball player who uses girls as a kind of medicine, Juliette, whose past has made her react to the world with clenched fists, and Ana, who is so normal that there is no way she’ll ever be able to fit in at this school for freaks.
Imagine a cross between Harry Potter, Ender’s Game, and Gossip Girl. Sam, Juliette and Ana have just been sent to a magical school, and have been told they will never see their families again. One of the biggest things that makes our book different from the usual paranormal romance, is that magic isn’t a secret. Once they have survived infection with a magical virus, and managed to retain their sanity, they will be used by the government as a weapon, similar to nuclear armament. Mages aren’t allowed back into polite society. They are too unstable, and definitely too dangerous. But Juliette, Ana, and Sam are still teens, and none of that is half as important as their friendships and crushes.
Shy, awkward Seb is in love with Ana. Can Sam teach him the right moves to pull Ana’s attention away from the sexy janitor, James? Juliette hates Zach, the snarky leader of the Elite. So why can’t she get him out of her head? Even though Sam will never be allowed to see his girlfriend Katie again, his love for her is unfailing. Except, there’s this girl…
Sheena Boekweg (writing as Sam) is the author of the award winning novel Funny Tragic Crazy Magic. Look for her next novel, Waxling in 2014. She is a mom of three living in West Jordan, Utah. You can find Sheena on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.
Sabrina West (writing as Juliette) is a writer and wildlife biologist living in San Diego, California. There, she wanders the streets searching for rare shorebirds, quality espresso, and elusive snippets of dialogue and imagery. Her short fiction has appeared in markets such as the Santa Clara Review, Cover of Darkness, and Strange, Weird and Wonderful Magazine. She also has a story upcoming in Kayelle Press’s Night Terrors Anthology.
Melanie Crouse (writing as Ana) lives in the gorgeous state of Maine with her (usually) delightful family. She wishes with all her heart that her teenage children weren’t so embarrassed that their mom writes "kissing scenes". With any luck, her first solo book, Hidden Magic, will be out in early January, 2015. You can find Melanie on Facebook and her website.
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