A long 4 years…
Something most people asked me when I told them I wrote a book is “How’d you have time for that?” The answer was always “I didn’t.” I had to sacrifice one thing for another. Funny, my book is about sacrifices.
When I started writing THE 52ND in January 2011, I not only didn’t know that it would take me this long to finish it, but also didn’t know that the story was going to be about sacrifices. In fact, I didn’t even have a plot. I only knew my characters, Zara and Lucas.
How’d I come up with the plot? Research.
The very first draft started with Zara in a dream. Little did I know that this was the number one ‘no-no’ in a writer’s world. It was rough. So I scratched that, but kept the idea of Lucas knowing who Zara was and her not knowing who he was a part of the story. While I didn’t have much more than that, I knew the book was going to be about the Aztecs and Mayans. This prompted me to research—okay, made me research—especially when my Mexican grandmother (my first beta reader) kept telling me my historical accounts were wrong. Our conversations were very interesting back then. But that’s a story of its own.
So essentially, I guess you could say my ideas for this novel seeded with research and grew with many details that I loved: the architecture, the shamans, spirituality, ancient traditions, legends, the stars, mythical creatures, gods & goddesses, and more. The ones that made me squirm in my seat and squint my eyes I couldn’t leave out of the story either: blood, ripped bodies, sacrifices, extracting beating hearts, and an entire Underworld.
But the big golden development was the unfolding message that THE 52ND conveys. Have you ever had an off day, or two, or ten…okay an off month? Maybe you suffered from something and never recovered from it: cancer, loss of friends, abuse, betrayal, bullied, a tremendous surrounding of bad influences, the list goes on. What if you just can’t recover from it? The pain and hurt make you feel ugly, like you can’t relate to anyone. How do you find happiness when you are numb inside, like you are already dead? THE 52ND is about Zara, the chosen fifty-second sacrifice, who undergoes a dark responsibility in having such calling. She didn’t choose this calling, it chose her. Like Zara, we all have circumstances that crutch us, things that are beyond our control that we don’t want. But what if you can find beauty in it? What’s nasty—or dead, in Zara’s case—to someone is beautiful to another. I’m not saying being abused or suffering cancer is beautiful. I’m saying you can find the sugar in those bad lemons and make lemonade.
Right after I realized this was what THE 52ND was about, “loosening the noose a little to be able to breathe and take control”, a song that I had been listening to during my writing phase ironically came out with a music video where ballerinas danced around in dia de los muertos make-up. They were scary and at first glance you would deem them as the ‘stay-away type’, but as they moved their bodies artistically, you began to see their story, and learned that they were beautiful in all their harming ways. Nailed the message.
* Song is Twenty One Pilot’s ‘Hold On to You’
THE 52ND finished evolving late 2013 and was completed spring 2014. It releases to the world October 27th on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Enjoy!
"The 52nd" By Dela
Genre: Young Adult
Sub Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: October 27th, 2014
Publisher: Wise Ink
Not one of the sacrifices chosen over the long history had survived—until now.
On the tip of the Yucatan peninsula, the immortal Castillo family gathers in Tulum. Weary and haunted, they receive the names of fifty-two human sacrifices chosen once every fifty-two years for the Underworld, a tradition thought to have disappeared with the fall of the Aztec and Mayan empires.
Driving home one night, college freshman Zara Moss swerves to avoid hitting a ghastly figure in the road. Lucas Castillo witnesses the car crash, but when it comes time to supervise her abduction from the wreckage, he intervenes. Something is different about Zara: Lucas has been having dreams of her arrival for five hundred years.
As Lucas and Zara come together to put an end to the bloody sacrifices, they discover that the ancient tradition isn’t so easily broken. The gods are angry, and they have until the Winter Solstice to drag Zara to the Underworld.
Dela is my pen name, an old nickname given to me in high school. I’m 32 years old, though I’d like to think I was still 21. I have 1 husband, 3 kids, and 2 fat Chihuahuas. I’m half Mexican, half Canadian. I love adventure and trying new things. At 16 I lived in Mexico for 6 months. At 18 I went skydiving. I love snowboarding; I even attended a snowboard camp in Bend, Oregon when I was 21. I was married at 22. I love going to concerts and listening to new bands, a thing I do on a regular basis with hubs. I was born in Las Vegas, and I still live here and absolutely love it—though it enables my crazy, Mexican family to hire Elvis impersonators for our Christmas Eve parties (so weird). One major flaw I have is that I have the worst memory in the world and I have to write everything down on lists. If it isn't on the list, then it doesn't get done!