Title: THE LONG ROAD HOME
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Word Count: 87,000
Magic is a tricky thing. Or, it would be, if fifteen-year-old Maire Finn believed in it. Even though her little sister insists it’s real, Maire is too busy trying to keep them alive in the midst of the famine. She’s determined to survive at any cost. Rotten potatoes, pompous English landlords, bloodied noses – none of it matters, so long as she gets through it to the next day.
Then a mysterious man appears, spinning a gold coin like a spider’s web, and he promises Maire the security she’s so desperate for. Her sister tells her the man is magical and not to be trusted, but Maire ignores her. She can’t turn down the chance to save herself, not now.
But it turns out her sister was right. Her mysterious benefactor is magical, and Maire’s been tricked. She’s never allowed to go home again. She’ll be safe, but her sister is left alone. And she’s dying.
Maire is not going to let that happen. Even though it means much worse than a bloody nose.
THE LONG ROAD HOME is a YA historical fiction with fantasy elements complete at 87,000 words. I hope it will appeal to readers who enjoy the combination of historical reality and the supernatural in Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races or Elizabeth C. Bunce’s A Curse Dark As Gold. I was mentored on this project by Eleanor Henderson, whose debut Ten Thousand Saints was one of the New York Times’ Top 10 Books of 2011.
I recently graduated from Ithaca College with a B.A. in Writing and a minor in History. My historical nonfiction has received the 2013 Elliot Mayrock Writing Award and a Best Paper award at the 2013 Phi Alpha Theta regional conference. In addition, my fiction was the recipient of the 2013 Runner Up prize in Ithaca College's Writing Department Contest and is published on their website.
An Daingean, Ireland
That morning, the sky had turned to endless stone-grey clouds and rain had pelted down in sheets, shattering the serene harbour with splashes and soaking straight through the wood of the docks. It came as no surprise, then, when one of the dockhands slipped, the sack he’d carried tumbling from his shoulder and onto the wet wooden boards beneath his feet. There were always people milling about at the docks, lurking with desperate faces in the greyish mist of the harbour. They were hoping for work or perhaps for a miracle like a sack of Irish grain dropped before it could reach English hands, and when the chance came, they leapt at it faster than the faery folk leapt at mischief. The dockhand was shoved aside by dozens of frantic hands.
Maire Finn was at the centre of the riot at once. She thrust her bony elbows into the faces and necks of the adults swarming around her, scratching and shoving back at the hands and arms that slapped at her, and she did not retreat even when a fist connected soundly with her nose. All that mattered was the kerchief full of barley she now had stuffed into her pocket.
She ran away from the docks, blood dripping slowly from her nose, over her mouth and down her chin, but she tried to ignore it until she could wash her face, just as she tried to ignore the feel of the ground beneath her feet and the way its pounding impact shot up through her heels and into her fishing rod thin legs and trembling knees.