This month I get to celebrate the release of another of my editing “god-babies”! Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut! This one I got to share awesome co-editor, Vikki Ciaffone, who now heads the Spence City imprint of Spencer Hill Press.
Finn (not bleedin’ Finnegan) MacCullen is eager to begin his apprenticeship. He soon discovers the ups and downs of hunting monsters in a suburban neighborhood under the demanding tutelage of the Knight, Gideon Lir. Both master and apprentice are descendents of the Tuatha De Danaan, a magical race of warriors from Ireland. Scattered long ago to the four corners of the world, the De Danaan wage a two thousand year old clandestine battle with their ancient enemy, the Amandán, a breed of goblin-like creatures.
Now with the beasts concentrating their attacks on Finn, he and his master must race to locate the lost Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan, the only weapon that can destroy the Amandán, all the while hiding his true identity from his new friends, Rafe and Savannah, twins whose South African roots may hold a key to Finn’s survival.
Armed with a bronze dagger, some ancient Celtic magic, and a hair-trigger temper, Finn is about to show his enemies the true meaning of “fighting Irish.”
Vikki and I were going through the slush pile when we both fell in love with this manuscript. Irish mythology! Adventure! In the suburbs!
Only… it was skewed a bit young for what, at that time, we were familiar with as the type of book SHP went for.
At first, unbeknownst to each other, we each still individually jumped on Kate to expand the SHP vision to include mid-grade.
Kate, in her usual awesome-Kate-ness, said something to the effect of, “Sure, I think we can do that!” and then informed us we each had asked for it, and wouldn’t it be nice for us to co-edit the manuscript.
Lots of fun ensued.
Including Vikki snickering at me searching through tissues for this one particular scene I was editing at her kitchen table. Because snark and teasing so don’t fit with the things we adore about Darby’s characters. Noo… not at all! Finn is such an angel… no, wait, that’s Darby’s other books (also awesome.)
So, with the ups being the immediate emotional ties we had to the characters, our love of the humor and dialogue, our appreciation of the story… what was there left for us to edit, you ask?
Well, there was a big chunk of “No, you need to write even more about this, this… and definitely more Gideon!” (Seriously, wait till you meet the knight!)
Since this is also written in third person, mostly through Finn and Gideon’s eyes, we also played around with the point of view, which is a lot of fun to play with because it can both offer some excellent insight to the characters, but get confusing if it gets away from you… as writing often does in its journey.
Also, for my part, my roommate-at-the-time and I experimented with my collection of daggers, dirks, and knives to ensure the plausibility of using one’s jeans to hold a blade (notsomuch, boy/girl-butt shape regardless). Vikki picked up on the specifics of knife sharpening (whetstone needs oil) and set me to work helping her sharpen some kitchen knives for missing something I should’ve caught. ;). Of course, in my geek world, any excuse to (safely) play with blades and talk about them makes me a happy camper.
As I said, much fun ensued.
Furthermore, because having so much fun editing wasn’t enough, I managed to hook Darby up with one of my favorite Celtic bands, Emerald Rose, who let us license their music for the wicked cool trailer! Darby loved them so much, she also asked about licensing to quote their lyrics to “Fire in the Head” in the novel. Way cool!
While I have not had the chance to hug Darby in person for this release, I’m happy to direct you to her page where, if you’re out west-ish, you might get to do that for me. She’s got an excellent tour planned with her boys (Finn and Gideon… and possibly Griffin and Basil might make a showing), that, if at all possible, you must check out.
At the very least, you have to get yourself your own copy of Finn Finnegan to love and hug.
And be tortured by as you wait for its sequel, Gideon’s Spear, coming out next year.