Child of Etherclaw follows two siblings as they investigate the mystery behind an opal necklace and its otherworldly powers, encountering danger along the way. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
Child of Etherclaw began as a short story exploring a rather radical approach to climate change mitigation—the Void Pillars. These are the massive hollow superstructures that reach into space and act as heat sinks that cool the planet. When I started to consider how they could be constructed, who (or what) could construct them, and why, that short story quickly took on a novel length. Most importantly, it turned out to also be the perfect setting for several characters that had been banging around loudly in my head for years, demanding to be written about.
Fenlee discovers her life is not as simple as she suspected as she discovers more about her family and her past. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
One of the reasons I love young adult fiction is the growth arcs of the characters. Fenlee is no exception. With her, I wanted to portray a character who could be considered “strong” but is realistically flawed, and has to overcome moments of weakness and doubt. A great deal of Fenlee’s strength comes from her friends and her family, and as fiercely independent as she wishes herself to be, she must come to terms with the fact that she needs them as much as they need her. As the story moves along, Fenlee’s motivations also change as she begins to see the true depths and darkness of the world around her. Getting knocked down repeatedly but continuing to get back up for both yourself and those around you is a real challenge, but Fenlee is up to it, despite the odds.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Found family has always been one of my favorite themes, and one that I wanted to make central to Child of Etherclaw. There are so many different ways to explore family dynamics, but when non-biologically related characters get mushed together in an unlikely living situation, their personalities really tend to shine through in their interactions. I believe this is largely because there isn’t the expectation of the same sort of “default loyalty” we afford to those we’re related to; how we treat found family shows us who we really are. It was also important to me to ensure the feeling of hope. While this may be a dystopian novel, it’s not without positivity. I wanted to demonstrate that, no matter what the world around us looks like, we can always make it a better place, even in small ways.
What is the next book in the series going to hold for readers, and when will it be available?
The next book is currently set for release in late 2023. There are a number of things hinted at throughout Child of Etherclaw, such as certain characters’ backgrounds and mysteries surrounding how the world got to its current state, which will be answered in the next book. A dire threat, much darker than anything in Child of Etherclawwill also emerge, and certain characters’ roles and destinies will become clearer.