About the Story

format: novella
length: 21,060 words
when: june 13 2017-july 5 2017
best part of the process: got to write about panic attacks
worst part of the process: i went real hard at the start of it and then limped through the last of it
Julian Abdulahi created a life for himself where he gets to save people from supernatural terrors. Sometimes he helps dumb drunk college kids from getting destroyed by swamp monsters, or rescues baby griffins from treehouses. But he had no idea what he was getting into when he helped a girl who burned like an inferno when she panicked. The girl named Shey enchants him in every way, but her condition puts them both into life-threatening danger. Can they learn to understand what's happening to her, and why they can't seem to get enough of each other, before her panic brings about the demise of them both?

Commentary

I am really excited with not only how this project came about, but how easily I got into the voice of it. I was worried after my last story that my writing skills were just kinda shit now. But Julian experiences the world very poetically. He channels a Fitzgerald-esque vibe of the extraordinarily passive hero coming against the powerful, unbridled force of a woman who steals his heart entirely. I think at the start I wasn't expecting their relationship to become something I rooted for - it was sort of supposed to feel forbidden, and poisonous - but I think they really found each other in an authentic way as the story developed.

I'm not entirely conviced that I did panic attacks justice, except in the sense that hers stem from a traumatic experience she's been trying to avoid for several years.

And yes, this story stars JULIAN! Ah! While I was in Canada and really into Rise Against, I wanted a hero who would grimly face the horrors before him, and who better for grimness than Julian? I immmediately knew exactly how I wanted him to see the world. And it was exciting after making him a widower for the last decade to focus on him finding happiness with a really powerful, vulnerable woman.

I will say that this story was written 60% because of Rise Against's latest album "Wolves," which came out a few days before I started the story. The story, also worth noting, was written in a big part at airports and on planes on my way back from my honeymoon in Toronto. Also with Rise Against playing.

The best cameos are when Micah stumbles in as one of Julian's clients! He's only a few years younger than Julian, and he finally gets to tell his dad that he doesn't need to worry about him. Plus, Shey gets to hang out with NIKKEI! And, Ingrid was dating Micah but then dumps him and splashes water in his face. I giggled the whole time these old timers traipsed in and out of the story.

Images from the Story