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In 2017, Shawn Smucker introduced readers to the enchanting world of twelve-year-old Samuel Chambers in his debut novel, The Day the Angels Fell. After his mother’s tragic death, Sam and his friend Abra Miller began a mysterious and dangerous quest to find the Tree of Life—the only thing that could possibly bring his mother back. The Edge of Over There is the spectacular sequel to this highly acclaimed work.
Abra’s life was dramatically changed by the events surrounding her and Sam’s hunt for the Tree of Life. Now, four years later, Abra is still searching for signs of that other world and the next manifestation of the Tree.
Abra’s mission is renewed when she sees a woman who looks exactly like Sam’s deceased mother. The woman directs her to New Orleans, where she will find the grave of Marie Laveau, one of seven gateways between this world and Over There. As Abra enters the Edge of Over There and begins her pursuit of the Tree once more, she doesn’t know whom to fear or whom to trust. But she’s starting to think that some doorways should never be opened.
Foreword Reviews states that The Day the Angels Fell is “thoroughly and relatably human.” Readers will be captivated once again by this character-driven novel filled with mystery and supernatural elements.
What is ONE thing you’ve learned the hard way so that others don’t have to?
It’s hard to quantify exactly what I hoped might happen when my first novel was released. Did I think it would sell millions of copies? Did I hope to become rich and famous or, even better, both? Did I think my social media feeds would be filled with the lavish adoration of old and new fans, gasping at my seamless use of language, my inspiring characterization, my deft handling of a complex plotline?
Maybe all of these things. Maybe something like these things? Maybe something different?
Whatever the case, when my first novel came out in September of 2017, it was greeted with a sensible amount of fanfare and criticism. People read it and reviewed it. We sold a few copies. It was, all in all, a good experience.
But I would not describe it as life-changing. The very next day, other people celebrated the release of their own books! How dare they? My friends stopped talking about my book! How could they? My family went on to read other novels! Where did they get such gall?
* * * * *
This is what I have learned: publishing will rarely live up to your expectations. It will often disappoint you. Even if you don’t think you have expectations, publishing a book will somehow manage to confound them.
But the writing itself? The writing will always be there for you. The writing is a faithful friend you can always go back to, no matter the criticism, no matter the disappointment, no matter what the royalty statement says. No matter.
The world does not stop for our stories. If a few people read our books and are changed, that is enough.
Writing is always there for you. This is what I have learned.
Shawn Smucker is the author of The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There. He lives with his wife and six children in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You can find him online at www.shawnsmucker.com, where you can also sign up for his newsletter in order to find out when and where the Tree of Life will turn up next.