I finished my line-edits on The Garden over the weekend. I'm reading the manuscript one final time from beginning to end.
This story has been exacting for many reasons. I think it still reads like an American writing about another culture and I hate that. My voice isn't Spanish, it never will be, because I'm not from that culture. I wish I could effortlessly translate all the beauty that I've found in Spanish and Latin American literature to you, but I'm not that skilled of an author yet. So I'll submit this story with humility and hope that it reaches the public nonetheless.
The Garden is about relationships, how we grow apart; how loving someone is not always about understanding the other person, but more often about accepting them--as they are, not as you wish for them to be. It's about the lengths we will go to in order to protect the people we love--friendship and loyalty.
Oh, yeah, and I put a bunch of angels and Daimons and flash and glamour into the story, because I like those things too, but don't lose sight of the fact that the magic is merely window-dressing. The true story is with the men who walk through this tale.
There is a romance here too, between two men whose love has endured the centuries, because I love romance. I think our loves define us, make us better people, teach us to think beyond ourselves.
The novel begins in Jerusalem and ends in Andalucía. There are approximately 116,000 words, forty-one chapters, seven of which are set in Jerusalem and are known as the Ithiel-chapters, the rest of the novel is set in the Garden. This story is nothing like I intended it to be, the tale marched away from early on and, when I quit fighting it, a new theme emerged. I went with it. I'm glad I did. The story that grew from that twist became deeper and more vibrant.
The Garden is not a Young Adult novel by any stretch of the imagination, and I hope that people will realize that from the first chapters--move on if you don't grown-up tales. I write the grimdark, but I write it with light. This story is only for the brave. Now you've been warned.