Starting 2017 with an offer from a publisher really threw me into a huge, unexpected learning curve. Even though I’d been self-publishing for a few years and fumbling my way through the highs and lows of using Amazon and Smashwords, I was still looking for a more traditional deal. My last book, Live to Tell, was written with the intention of having it traditionally published, but if I hadn’t had any luck, it would’ve ended up on my Smashwords profile.
I learned far more going through the motions of being published by a company. I had many stressful and exciting moments, and I put a lot of my own work into the final product but wasn’t confident about making my own cover page. This time around, I’ve employed a cover artist and even sought out a professional editor, neither of which I’ve done before.
I also really pushed for this new work to be a novel. Into the Other is the first novel I’ve written in a long time, and I managed to finish the original draft within 13 days of solid work. I ended up fleshing it out further, and while I thought it might be boring, my editor had glowing praise for the story and my style, and she couldn’t get over how evil my antagonist was.
This story is a rewrite of a novella I wrote in high school. I’d always intended on taking this story and transforming it. I was a little obsessed with the story of Rumpelstiltskin and wanted to create a kind of modern-day version. I also wanted to pay a homage of sorts to the role-playing and tabletop games I’d learned to play in the last few years. And while I was watching the last season of Stranger Things, I was blown away by how many similarities their storyline had with mine, and this was months after I’d finished my final draft.
So, Into the Other is really for my geek friends and any lover of fantasy and role-playing. I wanted to make sure there were hints for my aficionado friends that other readers might not be familiar with. When I’m asked if this book is like my last one, Live to Tell, I always say they’re completely different. I’m happy to play with all kinds of genres.
The Other, by Ralla’s description, fit the definition of another plane or dimension. Without knowing how to get there, they couldn’t meet Calder on his turf and make a surprise attack. Calder had more strength on this plane than in the Concrete, still Ralla made it clear Calder could work within both realms with ease; an unfair advantage Seth had to think harder around.
Drawing on the logic within the games he played, he knew when encountering any kind of air elemental that spells were of more use than physical weapons; unless the weapon was enchanted, of course. Getting into this stuff wasn’t to skirt the line of fantasy or find a way to blur it for his amusement.
~ Excerpt from Chapter 4
So far it’s been compared to works by Neil Gaiman, and I’ve always felt like a writer who’s lived with one foot in reality and the other in another world entirely. The idea of different dimensions or worlds on the edge of ours isn’t exactly new, but it’s certainly a fun one to play with. The mundane sitting parallel with the extraordinary leaves more scope for blending and balancing the two, which keeps you skirting the edge of the familiar before you tip over to somewhere perhaps a little scarier than you’re used to.
~ Livian Grey