We are thrilled to introduce you to our newest published authors, Rachel Feldman and Sylvie Merryman-Lotze! Rachel and Sylvie recently published their book, Nightshade: The Ember Stone, through our Fresh Ink publishing program. In Fresh Ink, youth authors with a completed draft of a novel are mentored through a chapter-by-chapter revision process. At the end of the program, the author is guided through the publication process resulting in an ink-and-paper book they can hold in their hands and share with other readers! We interviewed Rachel and Sylvie about her experience in the program. Keep reading to learn more about Rachel and Sylvie’s book and Fresh Ink.

Interview with Rachel Feldman & Sylvie Merryman-Lotze

Tell us about your book.
Our book is a fantasy/sci-fi novel about two girls who fall through a portal into a distant planet called Twilight Spectrum, where there’s magic and monsters and an evil sorceress whose greatest desire is to take control of the world. To get home they must travel through the planet to find a magical jewel called the Ember Stone, which is harder than it seems (and it seems pretty hard). Throughout their journey they gather strength and friends —and also some enemies.

What inspired you to tell this story?
We knew we both love to write, so we decided to work on a story together. We like the same book genres (mainly fantasy) and decided we wanted to write a book similar to those. It started with just a couple ideas jotted down on a piece of scrap paper, and grew into us working on it almost every day. Because we started writing at the beginning of the pandemic, doing school at home gave us plenty of time to work on it, letting it grow into what it is now.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
Sylvie: My favorite character is Jax. and Flynn. And Elodie. And Leilani. And Silver. And Autumn. And Siren. And Enzo. And all the random background characters. And … everyone.

Rachel: My favorite characters are Siren and Crayson. Crayson because he’s hilarious and extremely fun to write, and Siren because she’s a really interesting, complex character, and there’s a lot more to her than meets the eye. They’ll appear a lot more in later books 😉

What would you tell someone who wrote a novel and is not sure they want to do revisions?Though revisions seem scary, and you might be reluctant to change sections of your book, it can also be really helpful in making the story flow better. When we were revising our book, there were so many scenes that we decided to change, or new ideas that we came up with that made the story less confusing or more interesting, but that we never would have thought of if we hadn’t started revising and editing.

You can grab your copy of Nightshade: The Ember Stone online or request it at your favorite local bookstore!

Are you ready to publish your novel?

It’s time to take your novel, and your writerly skillset, to the next level! In the Fresh Ink Program, professional writers mentor youth through a chapter-by-chapter revision process which results in a printed or published book available through independent bookstores and other retailers. Through Fresh Ink, you will: complete a full novel revision, take your writing skills to the next level, and learn what it takes to publish a book