October 6th, 2015

It is the hour.

It’s October 6th, which means An Inheritance of Ashes officially hits shelves today.

Things I came home to today. So I guess that's a win.

A photo posted by Leah Bobet (@leahbobet) on

This has been a pretty long road between the first drops of an idea and the book loosing into the world, and one that a lot of people carried and/or dragged me along when my proverbial legs got wobbly. So while I know most people preview a book with the first chapter? I’d like to show you my acknowledgments.

Here are the people I owe Ashes to.

An Inheritance of Ashes was a book that asked a lot of me. I wrote my first book as a writer, but I wrote this one as a person, and bringing your whole self to a book when you are a person, with so much more than books to love, is a harder set of compromises. A lot of people supported and carried me during writing Above; for An Inheritance of Ashes, a great many people offered, in the face of those more complicated things, so much that made such a difference: kindness, experience, and patience.

For all the work, thought, and encouragement that went into fostering this idea, even though the external things didn’t work out: Cheryl Klein.

For their patience with a very drafty first draft, and their comments on it: Michael Matheson and Ian Keeling.

Lindsey Shorser and Jeff Yagar, who put up with my occasionally collaring them to go: “Is this cool or stupid?” and reciting random plot points at high speed.

Kelly Jones, Pam McNew, and Jennifer Adam, for taking the time to not only talk about the writing, but to point out some of the things this particular city girl assumed or misunderstood about running a small farm.

Emma Bull, whose wisdom on other projects came forward to vastly improve this one; Merrie Haskell, who generously shared both her insights and experience, and made the way there much, much clearer; and Michelle Sagara West, for her invaluable knowledge and invaluable practicality, and willingness to share both.

Chandra Rooney, for probably a million hours’ worth of work dates all over the west end, talking out plot points, talking about positioning, beta-reading chapters that just changed completely anyway, double-checking my instincts on cover copy when it was midnight and my brain stopped working, making me write words instead of bailing to see Batman even though I really wanted to bail and see Batman, and finally, telling me it was going to be okay in a way she knew I’d believe. Which is what the best writing partners do, and the best friends.

The Ontario Arts Council, whose Writers’ Works in Progress grant program let me jump face-first into the scary, wonderful life of a full-time writer. Thanks for believing in this book at its very beginnings, and for the chance to, well, take a chance.

My literary agent, Caitlin Blasdell, for knowing exactly where to take a weird little book; Diane Kerner at Scholastic Canada for the immediate and ongoing faith throughout the life of this project; and Anne Hoppe at Clarion, whose patience and enthusiasm were the bedrock that made this manuscript happen—a bedrock that not excessively dented by teaching one anxious and occasionally very opinionated author the ins and outs of writing on proposal (and a few things about prose clarity and structural tics, besides). Thank you for the immense effort and care put into this book. It has meant everything.

And finally, Philippe McNally, who understands. In the acknowledgments for Above I said that now I understood all those acknowledgment-page stereotypes; what Ashes taught me is how a partner who wants you to make good art makes everything suddenly possible.

Thank you, love, for doing more than your equal share of a lot of things while I rewrote whole chapters; for the infinite supply of gross deadline snacks; for drawing both the Nopetopus and the capybaras with machine guns, which clearly contributed to my process; for making it clear that time I take away from Us Things for Book Things is not, in your eyes, a favour you do me or a debt to collect; and for, knowing full well that this is going to happen every book, marrying me anyway. I love you like a whole forest of adorable kittens where there is also an astronaut convention taking place. I love you like the sky. Thank you.

I sincerely hope you all enjoy it.

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