Today, I'm announcing the title and synopsis of my entry in the upcoming anthology Of Myth and Monsters; the latest collection of short stories from Phoenix Fiction Writers.
The Boy Who Listened
Noah is a student at Hippogriff Academy of Magic.
And, as is generally the case at Hippogriff, there are a great many prophecies, perils and problems in the air. But none of them seem to involve Noah.
Noah’s friends are busy trying to find a fabled sphinx in an epic quest to save the world, and they don’t have a great deal of time for him. It’s easy to forget about Noah, after all.
Noah doesn’t speak. Not in the same way that his friends do.
But Noah listens.
Normally, when I make these announcements, I go into a lot of detail about the creation of the story, its genre, themes, and so forth. With The Boy Who Listened, however, I don't want to say a great deal. I will say that it's a young-adult fantasy story in the vein of Harry Potter, and that it's not connected to anything I've written before in terms of continuity or its general tone. Even the writing style is very much outside my usual wheelhouse. As a matter of fact, for various reasons, I was initially very uncertain about whether I wanted to submit this story to the anthology, but on the encouragement of friends, family, and sensitivity readers, I decided to go ahead with it. Looking back, I'm glad that I didn't give up on it, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out.
The Boy Who Listened deals with a theme that's extremely important to me personally. Those who have experience with it will quickly understand when they read it, and probably already know from reading the blurb. It's something that I prefer not to limit with labels. Labeling it, in my opinion, too easily turns it into nothing more than a stereotype, or a hashtag, or a narrowly-defined range of experience closed off by gatekeepers.
The theme of The Boy Who Listened is something that many different people have experienced in many different ways. Though it's been a major part of my family's story, our story may be very different from yours. We don't all know each others' stories based solely on we have gone through ourselves…hence, the need to listen, which is the basic idea that inspired me to write The Boy Who Listened in the first place. It's not a call to action or a part of any particular movement. My hope is that it will simply inspire and encourage people who find something they can relate to in its themes.
You'll be able to read The Boy Who Listened and the seven other stories in this collection on September 12, when Of Myth and Monster is released. For now, be sure to add the book to your Goodreads shelf.
And thank you for listening. 🙂