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16 January 2013

The Amazon in my Office By Laura Bickle -author ofThe Hallowed Ones

I had a wonderful trip to Ohio (my first visit to the US) in May last year, and loved the beautiful countryside and was fascinated by the peaceful and spiritual lifestyle of the Amish people, so I am really interested in this story and thrilled to have Laura Bickle, author of 'The Hallowed Ones' to the Flight Deck today. First of all, Laura is going to tell us a bit about her 'writing muse'. Over to you, Laura.

The Amazon in my Office By Laura Bickle 

Wonder Woman oversees my writing. Okay, slight exaggeration. I’m sure that the *real* Wonder Woman would have much better things to do than watch me stare at the computer screen, shovel cats in and out of my lap, and swill Coca-Cola. I’m sure that she’d have no interest whatsoever in my barely-legible index cards, my swearing, and the crunching noise my broken backspace key makes. She has better things to do than watch me work – things like saving the planet from alien invaders or plagues of mutant robots.

But she still watches me write. Not her, but a twelve-inch Wonder Woman replica doll, perched on my desk. She’s powerful, fearless of my mistakes and indecision. She doesn’t snicker when I read a run-on sentence aloud. Being plastic, she’s not terribly judgmental.

Wonder Woman is one ally among many in my writer’s nest. My nest is my bit of sacred space. It’s part of a little-used guest room. I made a desk by heaving a six-panel wooden door on top of two file cabinets. I spread large pieces of glass from an old coffee table on top, so that I can slide pictures, notes, and little treasures underneath. My reference books are tucked away on shelves, and a brightly-painted balsa wood dragon spins slowly from a hook on the ceiling. A dream board for my current project is propped up on the desk, containing clippings, sketches, and quotes, a clumsy storyboard that I’d be embarrassed to show anyone. Odds and ends are scattered hither and yon: Tarot cards, sticky notes, cat toys, candles. A cat is asleep in a pet bed under the desk. It’s perfect chaos.

But it’s mine. My writing nest. I’ve learned that having a nest is vital to me, to be able to close the door and focus on writing. I think that, if you honor something by giving it physical space in your home, it takes up more real estate in your head. It becomes real. It reminds me of how important writing is to me every time I walk past it, and my mind immediately jumps to the next scene in my story. And, so, when I sit down to write in that semi-sacred space, I become someone else. Like Diana Prince becoming Wonder Woman, I’m transformed into a writer.

I sit and chew on a pen, staring at the Wonder Woman doll, my silent cheering squad. She reminds me to forge ahead, to be powerful. That if the entire word can be saved from hordes of alien invaders by one woman… one woman wearing high-heeled boots, no less… I can put on my own Wonder Woman boots to power through this story.

 Resolutely, I put pen to paper.

Thank you so much, Laura, I think a lot of authors, including myself, have our own little writing space where our muse 'lives' and helps us with our creations.  Now let's find out a bit more about your book.

THE HALLOWED ONES Laura Bickle Reading level: Ages 12 and up Paperback: 320 pages Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Graphia (September 25, 2012) ISBN-10: 0547859260 ISBN-13: 978-0547859262

 If your home was the last safe place on earth, would you let a stranger in?

In this captivating thriller, an Amish settlement is the last safe haven in a world plagued by an unspeakable horror…

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenag-ers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the church. But before Rumspringa arrives, Katie’s safe world starts to crumble. It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields, followed by rumors of massive unrest and the disappearance of huge numbers of people all over the world. Something is out there...and it is making a killing.

Unsure why they haven’t yet been attacked, the Amish Elders make a de-cree: No one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the boundary of their land, she can’t leave him to die. She refuses to submit to the Elder’s rule and secretly brings the stranger into her community—but what else is she bringing in with him?

Elijah looked at the stone, shrugged, put it down. He was a year older than me, but he would do anything I asked. Tall and lanky and sunburned from working outdoors, he cut a handsome figure: dark hair and hazel eyes that crinkled when he smiled. I wasn’t sure what I thought about that yet. We had grown up together. But things were changing. We both could feel it.

He leaned against the fence beside me, staring out at the field. I knew what he was looking at, the same thing I was . . . at what lay beyond the field. At the black ribbon of road just beyond the corn that carried the English to and from their business Outside. They drove their shiny cars down the two-lane highway, intent on going home or to work or school. At this distance, we could barely make out the drivers. Sometimes men or women drove boxy sedans in pressed suits and blouses. Often they would be couples with children strapped into harnesses in the back seat. Other times the drivers would be people around our age, talking on their phones or chatting with friends in the passenger seat. We were too far away to see their expressions. But during the summer, with the windows down, we could sometimes hear snippets of their laughter.

Since the time we were children, Elijah and I had made up stories about the people in the cars. We imagined that they were driving to the movies or going to parties. Once, we spied a sleek black limousine and fancied that it contained men in tuxedos and women in evening dresses. Maybe a group going to prom. It was as far away from our everyday world as we could envision.

“Someday that’s going to be us out there,” Elijah said, gesturing with his chin toward the road.

Read the rest of this chapter


About the Author

Laura Bickle's professional background is in criminal justice and library science. When she's not patrolling the stacks at the public library, she can be found reaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs.

She has written several contemporary fantasy novels for adults, and THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel. Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and five mostly-reformed feral cats. For more about Laura, please visit her website at: http://www.laurabickle.com.

More info on her urban fantasy and general nerdiness is here: http://www.salamanderstales.com/

She’s also at Facebook