I’ve been waiting more than a year to talk about this project in public, so I’m thrilled to finally announce that my next book for adults is called Menagerie, and it will be coming in trade paperback from MIRA in October of 2014. Menagerie and its two sequels will be the 17th, 18th, and 19th books that my editor, Mary-Theresa Hussey and I have worked on together since MIRA published Stray, my first novel, back in June of 2007, and I am so glad for the opportunity to continue to work with her.
About the book… (There’s no official description yet, so I’m making this blurb up as I go.)
Like the rest of the world, Delilah Marlow knows all about living myths. Preternatural creatures. Monsters. Whatever you want to call them, she knows that they are sometimes beautiful, often lethal, and that they are not allowed to roam free in the U.S. Since long before she was born, living myths have only been allowed to exist in controlled environments, like official preserves, government labs…and in traveling carnivals, where, for a very steep fee, private citizens can get an up-close look at the dangerous and bizarre, like watching animals through fences at the zoo.
What Delilah does not know about living myths is that she is one of them.
When a visit to a traveling carnival exposes Delilah as a “monster,” she finds herself sold into the menagerie as an exhibit, stripped of all civil liberties, staring out through the bars of her cage at a world that now sees her as less than human. Locked up, denied even the most basic of rights and privileges, Delilah must call on her own inner strength and the bonds forged with her fellow captives to reclaim her future—and possibly spark a change in perceptions the world over.
As you can probably tell, this project deals with themes I’m drawn to and subjects I consider important. Strong female characters, independence, friend/family connections, and the importance of fighting for what we believe in.
The Menagerie world itself is dark and gritty, as befits the themes, against a rich and colorful carnival backdrop. The cast of characters is broad, and the story itself is told from multiple viewpoints, to allow for an extensive worldview. In short, this is a “bigger” book than I’ve ever written, in both ambition and scope.
I’m almost halfway through with the manuscript, and I love this story. I love this world. I love these characters and how strong they are, in spite of (or because of?) all they’ve endured.
I hope you’ll step into Menagerie with me next fall. Delilah is eager to meet you all.
[Questions? Leave them in the comments...]