Fair to Hope was born out of wanting to write a book that the younger me would have been stoked to read. As a kid, books saved me, I didn’t always feel like I fit in, so being able to escape into a story and lose myself in the world created there, felt more and more like home. That was true, even though I never really saw myself reflected in those stories. Characters of color were either missing all together, or appeared in such auxiliary roles that they could have easily been removed, and the story stay the same. So, as much as I loved, and re-read the books of my childhood, I knew if I could ever get it together enough to write a book of my own, it would reflect the world that I live in. That was the sort of over-arching goal that’s always been nagging at the back of my brain, but once I decided I was actually going to put pen to paper, (which is true, I wrote the first draft of Fair to Hope in longhand, filling up 2 leather-bound journals), I needed to have a story to tell. So naturally, the big question was, where was that going to come from?
I’m an introvert by nature, which means in most social situations, especially those where I don’t know the folks around me, I tend to people watch more than anything else. I’m always fascinated by the way people interact with each other, the subtlety of certain gestures or movements, how without even knowing people, you can pick up on things about them; do they smile? Are they funny? Sad? Attracted to someone near them? Trying to get away from someone? Uncomfortable? Bored? Confident? The people watching evolved into me trying to categorize all of these interactions; what if they meant something more than I could see? What if there was purpose in the way we chose to connect with each other – even more than that, what if someone was controlling it? What if there was a master plan, and if there was, what would that look like? What would it all be for? I think sometimes it’s easy to forget the ‘power of the other’…that we need other people, even when we don’t think we do, and so I think wanting to explore that, in a way that made that need – and the resulting interactions – truly powerful, drove the development of Fair to Hope and it’s secret societies. I wanted to explore that idea from the perspective of someone who would have no reason to want to be connected to anyone, and what someone put in that position would choose to do if they realized their choices could literally mean life or death for everyone else.
Once I settled on that as an idea, I needed to actually create the secret societies and deal with the difficulties of integrating them into the real world. Although, I found as I wrote, the issue wasn’t so much in mixing the society into the modern world, but more so in how much of the fantastical was necessary for you to understand what drove the characters to do what they did in the ‘real world.’ I hope that makes sense…I knew that I was introducing a lot of new fantastical elements, but I still wanted the story to be more character driven – for you to be able to follow these folks making decisions for their lives, (for better or for worse), yes, driven by the society they are a part of, and this extra knowledge that they have, but more as a reflection of who they are based on how they react to things within that framework. I was hoping to put out enough urban fantasy so that certain things were inevitable…certain things had to be faced and dealt with…but not so much that it stopped you from being able to relate to the characters as just trying their best to navigate their own stuff to the best of their ability, and to come to terms with things that could be true even without the fantastical elements…though those parts did definitely help to up the ante, plus they’re fun to write. And finding the fun parts for me was important, since in piecing together any book, there are moments when the words just won’t come. So, finding those sort of magical moments where I’m effortlessly meeting the story on the page, where something that started out as just one sentence turns into pages that have a complete life of their own – while simultaneously learning to trust myself through that process, and in the creation of a story that felt authentic to me, is what I’ll most treasure about writing this book. I’m aware that the structure and format of the story is probably a tad outside the box of what is considered normal, but I think I’d rather be slightly left of normal any day.
About the Author
Sam Reed is a born and bred southern girl who grew up reading Toni Morrison, Archie Comics, Christopher Pike, Octavia Butler, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. When she’s not thinking of what to write, she is napping or eating, going to church, wishing she could sing, trying to perfect her Grandma’s biscuit recipe, watching A Different World reruns, sitting in the sun—or reading a book.
About the Book:
Velma had lived two lives: her first as a former foster kid, and her second as an unlikely recruit into a secret order that satisfied her need for retribution. Her fifteen-year-old self had given up on hope, but after three years with the Taram, she’d found her life’s purpose.
That is, until she is surprisingly named Kachina, the fabled chosen empowered to fight the last battle for the fate of the world. Having to kill someone she loves was never part of the bargain, even if it means saving everyone else from damnation.
Building a normal life free from the pull of the Taram—seems like the only answer to her prayers. Except her best friend, the other Kachina, is coming. The legend is clear that one of them must die.
Velma will have to weigh the cost of her life against a world that’s constantly betrayed her and quite literally decide if she’ll be damned in dying, taking the whole world with her.