Welcome to Arkomo
I’m hijacking the blog this morning to announce something that’s been a long-time coming – the release of my first novel, Doorways to Arkomo – Book One of the Spirit Oak’s Gift. It’s now available for Purchase on Amazon.com in paperback and ebook formats. It’s also available on Smashwords as an eBook which you can get in ePub (Nook) format. I’m donating 100% of the first year’s profit for this (my first novel) to charities and organizations that support children with devastating illnesses. To learn more about that – check out this post on the book’s blog.
There was a lot on my mind when I started writing this book in April 2013. Ana had just had her transplant and was recovering beautifully. She was gaining wait and preparing to go back to school. More than ever – I felt that the hellish six-month journey she’d been on was finally coming to an end.
But I also felt…changed. I’ve wanted to be a novelist my entire adult life. I never had the confidence, even though I know I can write. I don’t mean that to sound arrogant or conceited – it’s just something I know I can do. The way Emily knows she’s good at Karate and Ana knows she can sing. So, back in April when things finally started slowing back to normal – I dusted off the part of my brain that was always trying to make up fantastic tales of adventure (but had grown quieter and quieter over the years) and I invented Arkomo – well, in all honesty, I didn’t invent Arkomo.
Arkomo is a name that Ana came up with when she was eight or nine. She loved to build tiny little worlds with her toys. Arkomo appeared on the top of her dresser one morning – with buildings constructed of LEGOS and blocks, streets filled with tiny Playmobil trees and animals, and people made up primarily of Squinkies (tiny rubber figures that she and Emily avidly collected back then). She drew a little sign above her creation that said, “Welcome to Arkomo.” It sat on her dresser for nearly a year, settling itself into my mind. I told her that I was going to write about Arkomo one day and make it real.
So my first goal with writing this book was to bring Arkomo to life, but it was closely followed by the second goal – honor Ana’s battle with cancer. I wanted to preserve the experience she’d had with as much clarity as possible. I wanted to throw open the doors of the Childrens’ Hospital and bring people inside. I wanted to put a name to that faceless child with cancer and show her bravery. So I created Grace, an 11-year-old girl with a malignant liver tumor. Ana’s not entirely thrilled that I did this (she’ll thank me one day?) I know this was somewhat self-indulgent – as was the character of Maggie (Grace’s mother). But the journey to Arkomo can only be made through the hospital – in this way readers get to experience two very different worlds from the ones they’re used to (unless, of course, the reader is a child with cancer…which brings me to the third goal of this book…)
I wrote this book for sick children, so they can see themselves through my eyes – the tiniest warriors. There are so many still battling this disease – and other devastating illnesses. They go through surgery and treatment. They’re too tired to open their eyes. They’re afraid, but they keep going – and smiling. They just want to go home. So I wrote Doorways to Arkomo – the first of a two-book series – so they can see themselves as the hero of an epic tale. I tried to honor the reality of life in the hospital while still allowing Grace moments to escape (like when she first stumbles into Arkomo and discovers she has magic of her own).
This first book is a labor of love and I really just want people to read it and let me know what they think. I’m building a world here, and that takes time. My hope is to make some money from this book in the first year and give that to families who need it – which is why I’ve made the decision to donate the first year’s profits in their entirety. After that, I do plan on giving a percentage of the book’s profits to charities each year – and I’m hoping there will be a lot to give. So buy a book – spread the word – and if you like it…write a review on Amazon. That’s the best way to get my book discovered and read.