As a writer, the most important contribution I can give to young adults is representation. Through literature, I want to give young adults of color diverse stories that they can see themselves in, stories that I wished I would’ve had when I was a child.
My first novel, A Shrouded Spark, is a diverse, YA fantasy novel, one that I hope will reach the hands of adolescents who need diverse books, and need black and brown characters to look up to.
A Shrouded Spark has reached it’s final stages of production, and I couldn’t be more excited. Therefore, every week, I will be posting excerpts to get everyone else excited! In order to cover the costs of distribution, marketing, and production, I’ve started a fundraiser on GoFundMe. I hope to gain support from my fellow writers and readers of diverse books! Plenty of rewards and incentives are being offered! If you cannot contribute with funds, please share the link and spread the word!
Check out the first excerpt here!
Noni caught glimpses of light. She heard voices; some of them called her name. There was always a strange feeling in her chest, a certain tightness, whenever she heard them. The voices had no faces. Her memories would never play back for her. Her thoughts were a fog inside her consciousness.
The first time that a voice broke through, strong and clear, was the first time that Noni could call upon some memory.
The pain and tightness rose behind her ribs. Glimpses of faces flew past her eyes as she tried to match the voice with the face that it belonged to. It wouldn’t click. The voice just wouldn’t attach.
“I think she’s opening her eyes…”
Flames overwhelmed her chest. Her lungs, her throat, her eyes—the ache inside her grew like a brush fire. Light began to spill into her limbo, shining through the darkness, bringing her back to the places that hurt. She breathed. She saw. She ached.
“Call a nurse! Tell the doctors to get in here! She’s waking up! She’s waking up!”
The first thing in her line of vision was a set of prayer beads—a rosary—dangling above her face, glistening underneath the fluorescent lights. Each bead was a deep shade of red; a set of dark, wrinkly hands held the rosary. She wanted to swat it out of her face, but her arms wouldn’t move, and neither would any other limb.
There was too much soreness, too much pain. She looked away from the beads, and that was when she saw a face all too familiar to her.
Noni’s aunt Deidre stood beside her, eyes sunken in, tears rushing down her brown, hollowed-out cheeks. Her hair was no longer the same black that it had always been; it was almost ashen, sticking out every direction from underneath a tattered, red bandana. Her honey-colored eyes bore into Noni’s so intensely; the stare was too strong for the younger girl to endure. This was not the woman she remembered.
After a series of rapid health checks, the doctors removed Noni’s breathing tube, and she began to take in air on her own. Her throat was sore, raw from having the intrusive tube inside. Noni felt slow, drowsy. When the doctors began asking more questions, Noni could only manage one word.
Deidre brought a small cup of ice water for Noni. But before the woman could even let her drink it, she was hugging her, rubbing her face, kissing her all over. Noni wished she would stop so that she could tell her aunt that she was dying of thirst, but she just couldn’t get the words out.
Eventually, Deidre helped Noni drink the water, tipped the plastic cup against her lips, and made sure not to spill a single drop. The water only made Noni’s throat burn even more. As soon as the cup was empty, one doctor returned. Noni’s eyes met hers, and the woman smiled warmly.
“My name is Dr. Cohen. I’m the attending neurosurgeon, and I’m going to be taking care of you, okay?” she said. She sat down on the edge of Noni’s bed and began asking her a series of questions. “What’s your name?”
“Noni Grace,” she mumbled.
“How old are you?”
“What year is it?”
“Where do you live?”
When Dr. Cohen stopped questioning her, Noni was relieved, and even more so when the woman stepped away from her bedside.
Deidre nearly collapsed into a chair beside the bed. “Oh Noni, I’m so glad you’re awake. So glad.” Deidre was crying again, holding Noni’s hand so tightly.
Noni would’ve hugged her back if she wasn’t so sure that she’d fall out of bed if she tried. Whatever medication they’d given her had thrown her off completely. She had no idea how long she’d been lying there, but her muscles were in knots.
“I knew you would wake up. I just knew you would,” Deidre wept, kissing Noni’s forehead repeatedly. Noni leaned into it carefully, sighing as she did. Her aunt swiped Noni’s curls away from her face and took a deep breath.
“How do you feel?” asked the doctor.
With a raspy voice, dry from lack of use, Noni answered, “Tired. Confused.”
The doctor offered Noni another drink of water, but she declined, not thinking her stomach could handle anything else yet. “How long…how long have I been asleep?” she asked.
The doctor sighed sadly, shaking her head. “Noni, you’ve been in a coma for two weeks.”
Noni’s eyes flew open wide with disbelief. “Coma? What— why was I in a coma? What happened?” She noticed her aunt watching her sadly, face contorted into an expression of fear and confusion.
“You mean you don’t remember?” Deidre asked.
…look for more next week!
Find the GoFundMe Campaign here!