I'm happy to bring you all Katie Carroll today, with a heart-wrenching post. You might need to break out the tissues, but don't let that scare you--Katie's is a beautiful story. Her novel, ELIXER BOUND is available and you should totally pick it up!
|Katie's the one in red, reading to her little sister. Cute!|
Thanks for having me on the blog Meradeth. I have to warn your readers, though, this post is sad. However, sharing my journey is important to me, and in the end, there’s always hope.
I’ve always heard stories about people who knew practically from birth what they wanted to be when they grew up. I am not one of those people, but I do know the exact date when I truly became a writer. You’d think a day like that would be a happy day, but for me it was as far from joyful as anything could be.
On April 10th, 2002 instead of being in class, I was in the driver’s seat of my green Geo Metro in a mall parking lot. Balloons bobbed in the backseat and a Harry Potter doll sat shotgun. They were for my 16-year-old sister, Kylene, who was sick in the hospital. My head rested on the steering wheel as my chest filled with pain. It wasn’t a heart attack; it was the pain of dread.
Just like Beth I thought. I couldn’t help but make the connection to Little Women. Four March sisters, four Carroll sisters. Where the March sisters had Laurie, we had our brother. Paralleling Kylene with Beth brought hot tears to my eyes. Beth dies.
Six days after my epiphany in the car, Kylene too would die. It was only a few weeks after she got sick with what the doctors initially thought was just a bad case of pneumonia, but turned out to be a mystery illness that attacked her lungs. Shocking doesn’t come close to describing how it felt. Devastating doesn’t do it either. Really there are no words adequate enough to express the pain and grief. It split my life in two: a before and an after.
I still can’t quite make sense of what happened. How does a perfectly healthy, vibrant 16-year-old girl fall so sick that doctors and all of modern science can’t figure out what’s wrong with her? What do you do when the world you knew is shattered into a million pieces and one of the most important ones falls through a crack in the floor, never to be seen again?
You shuffle through the leftover pieces as best as you can and reassemble them to form a new world. When you’re 19 and your younger sister has just died, you realize you have to do something with your life that matters. For me that meant telling stories, and suddenly I realized I was a writer.
My dad suggested I write a story for Kylene. About a year later I took a journaling class and started jotting down ideas and came to one about two sisters on a quest. Inspired by The Hobbit, I affectionately called it “There and Back Again: A Sisters’ Tale.” After much labor and many revisions, A Sisters’ Tale morphed into my first published book Elixir Bound.
The 10-year anniversary of Kylene’s death was earlier this year, and today Elixir Bound is officially a book. The dedication reads To Kylene: In life you were a sister, friend, and confidant. In death you are a sister, friend, confidant, and muse. I wrote Elixir Bound in mourning for my sister, but I release it to the world with joy.
Elixir Bound blurb:
Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone.
For it is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings who will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.
Elixir Bound is available for your Kindle, Nook, PC, or other device from the MuseItUp Publishing website. Look for it on Amazon, the Barnes and Noble e-book store, and other online e-book retailers soon. For more about Katie visit her website at www.katielcarroll.com.