As the Associate Editor for The Indianola Review, I led a project to complete a collaborative serial novel during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2015. I’ve always wanted to edit a novel, and this seemed crazy enough to work.
Through Twitter, 30 authors from all across the United States signed on to write one chapter each (~2,000 words) on their respective day in November. The chapters were to follow the characters and plot set forth by Chelsea Eckert (our brave Day 1 author). Her characters were two courageous young sisters, Amadeus and Wolfgang, who were tasked with completing a quest using a windlestraw—an enchanted key—in a magical world set in the American Southwest. The first chapter blew me away. When Wolfgang pulled the windlestraw out of her pocket, the possibilities of magical realism–one of my favorite things to read–exploded into being.
I was always the first person to read each chapter of this wonderfully weird story, a privilege I enjoyed immensely. It’s fun and has some serious depth when it comes to the “magic system.” The Wolf & The Windlestraw is a 232-page magical realism novel that was written as a result of The Indianola Review‘s first collaborative NaNoWriMo. (We’ll be setting up the 2016 NaNoWriMo soon!) Here’s the blurb for the fantastic story:
Wolfgang has a sense of adventure unmatched by anyone, even her younger sister, Amadeus. But when Wolfgang is charged with completing three mysterious and possibly dangerous tasks, she drags Amadeus out of their hometown, Lotsett, to help her on her quest.
Their father Saul, desperate to find his missing daughters, seeks out the help of Brooks, a man who disappeared decades ago but has returned to Lotsett for his own dubious reasons.
With only a magical sword and the questionable guidance from local spirits, the sisters must complete the tasks together. Family and enemies alike put pressure on the sisters’ friendship. When pushed to their limit, will they make the right choice?
TITLE: The Wolf & The Windlestraw
AUTHORS (In order of date of completion, November 1-30): Chelsea Eckert, Lane Kareska, Kevin C. Hunt, Robert Perret, Anne Weisgerber, Diane Rosier Miles, Michael P. Adams, Kayla Dean, Ellen Davis Sullivan, Jennifer Met, Jocelyn Paige Kelly, Carrie Cook, Sarah Vernetti, Iskandar Haggarty, Michael T. Fournier, G. E. Schwartz, Cinthia Ritchie, Tim Duffy, Joseph Walters, Vanessa Christie, Arika, Anthony Frame, Janell Zimmerer, Sara Adams, Forrest Dylan Bryant, Jae Singer, Lisa E. Balvanz, Tim W. Day, Jason Sears, Eldo St. David.
COVER ART: Frances Mann
FIRST LINE: It was the day that wild dogs, a whole family of them, would try to devour Ama’s older sister alive.
QUOTABLE: Ama relished the air hissing as the sword moved through the unseen medium, but her fantasy was short-lived. She turned around and halted in her steps, splashing into the creek that had been behind her moments ago. A small gray cat peered from behind a tree trunk, its big hazel eyes drawing Ama closer. She dropped the windlestraw and crept over to the cat, extending her arms out to pet its ruffled, damp fur.
SORT OF LIKE:
(I had trouble finding any books that were similarly written (one author per chapter), so I guess The Wolf & The Windlestraw is in a league of its own!)