Author's Preface

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Though the idea for this book began as far back as 2000, I really began writing this novel in 2002, at the urging of one of my Dramatic Literature T.A.s. I was still writing fan fiction then, and I had begun this story as backstory for an AU Dragonball Z fic. My T.A. told me that the idea for the backstory was so interesting that I should extract it from its fan fiction beginnings and try to write it up as an original novel.

Thus began five years of writing my very first original novel. I finished it in 2007, while I was a teacher in Japan, and gave it a good polish and put it away for a while to focus on a different story, which eventually became my debut novel. Meanwhile, this novel languished in a drawer. After my debut came out, I began to build a submissions package for this novel - query letters, pitches, the whole nine yards.

But at the same time, I realized that the book was too long - over 290k - too meandering, and possibly filled with a few too many errors to really tighten it up into something publishable. I've tried to work on the book in the past decade, a few months here and there, but it always seemed too unwieldy for paperbacks, and potentially, possibly too filled with the sorts of mistakes and yearnings of first-time author to really be taken seriously as a novel. Especially as a follow-up to my awardwinning debut.

And yet.

And yet, I still loved the characters. I loved the story. I loved the concepts. And I wanted to share it.

I wanted it to live, but I could never figure out how.

It was too big for trad pub, a bit too amateur for my primary pen name, a bit too much, really.

And then there was Wattpad.

The perfect platform for serialization. For meandering but engaging stories. For strange tales, and a young woman's fantasies made realized. For something that doesn't quite fit traditional publishing's frame of what a good horror-fantasy-historical book ought to be. For something that isn't perhaps as polished as I feel comfortable handing my agent.

So, here it is, in all its melodramatic, not-as-clever-as-it-thinks-it-is, self-indulgent, sprawling, not-as-well-researched-as-I-might-have-liked, glorious muddle. I hope you have a wonderful time reading this book - I really, genuinely loved writing it.

And I am so excited and happy to be able to finally share it.

If nothing else, I hope you find it entertaining as hell.

-Peggy Barnett

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