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04. Stolen Fire


I once thought of writers as gods and goddesses. They seemed to wield a strong magic - the magic of conjuring worlds, of transforming the abstract into concepts so concrete, they might be be taken into hand. Writers seemed to harbor the skill of coaxing buried thoughts, perspectives, and personality up to the surface, where a reader might know herself and her world better.

Many authors suffer from imposter's syndrome - a disbelief that they can truly accomplish what their literary idols can. In creating stories myself, though, I feel less like an imposter and more like a thief - like I've somehow slipped into the secret cave of the gods and stolen their holy fire.

But the truth is - we, none of us, are imposters or thieves. I maintain a theory that, in truth, we're all writers. We're all storytellers.


In looking at my new book's bright cover, by feeling its satisfying weight, it strikes me how profound stories - all stories - are. They seem more like discovered artifacts than inventions, and sometimes I feel less like I've created them than I feel they've visited themselves upon me.

I often think that a writer's main occupation is to be present and simply to wait for the story to arrive; to have the pen ready in hand, and to carry a spirit of enthusiasm to do justice to the characters and ideas that surface.

A common question authors often ask themselves is - how does one know when a book is finished? When have I actually cast the spell, conjuring a fully-fledged story? In considering this book, I realize that the sense of completion comes when a book reaches a place of individuality. The Shepherd of the Stars is both everything I ever hoped it would be, and nothing like I imagined, years ago, when I set out to write it.

I dedicated this book to Swift, and to those other characters to come. For I feel this story belongs to them every bit as much as it belongs to me.

And I hope that you, a cherished reader, will enjoy the book and feel that it belongs to you as well. For in writing this book, never did my heart stray from the hope that it would delight its readers.

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