For Abby Drivdahl, there’s a trick to writing a book.
It involves a comfortable space, two cats and a London Fog — if she can get her hands on one.
“I tend to start with a cup of tea,” said Drivdahl, 36.
In her Puyallup home, Drivdahl spends her time writing away the sequel to her debut novel, “Joined.” A young adult/new adult sci-fi fantasy, “Joined” follows 20-year-old diplomat Andromeda, or Meda, as she prepares to be next in line to rule the galaxy — all while assassins attempt to kill her.
“(The book is) if Greek mythology and Star Wars had a baby,” Drivdahl joked.
While currently available as an ebook, “Joined” was picked up for publishing by Inkspell Publishing with a release date slated for Sept. 12. Drivdahl published the book under her pen name, Mara Gan — an anagram of “anagram.”
Growing up in Olympia, Drivdahl loved playing with words and thinking up stories.
“I was that kid who would stare into the distance and my parents would wonder if I was okay because I was busy thinking of stories that I wanted to write,” she said.
I was that kid who would stare into the distance and my parents would wonder if I was okay because I was busy thinking of stories that I wanted to write.
That love for storytelling stemmed from an interest in history and mythology.
“History is fascinating and is full of interesting people,” Drivdahl said.
Drivdahl attended Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and graduated in 2003 with a degrees in Japanese language and history. She went to live in Japan for three years, where she met her husband, then returned to the States to complete her master’s degree in Asian history at the University of Oregon. She moved to Monterey, California to teacher history and wrote a history book for her students.
All the while, she was also working on her novel.
“I did a lot of writing there,” Drivdahl said.
Drivdahl started writing when the beginning drafts of “Joined” when she was 14. The story was inspired by the Greek myth of Andromeda and Perseus, and while it takes place in space, Drivdahl said the book makes statements about the importance of mental health and tolerance.
“It’s good for adults to read YA because it reminds them that teens have those anxieties,” Drivdahl said. “I think it’s important to reach teenagers and adults and that there’s a common mind here.”
It’s good for adults to read YA because it reminds them that teens have those anxieties. I think it’s important to reach teenagers and adults and that there’s a common mind here.
In December 2016, Drivdahl went on submission for “Joined.” It was three weeks before she heard a response — unusually fast.
“I woke up and my phone buzzed at me and I had an email from Inkspell Publishing,” she said.
In June, Drivdahl and her husband moved from California to Puyallup, having missed the Pacific Northwest. She wants to get involved with local writing communities.
For other writers seeking publication, Drivdahl encourages them to write for themselves.
“As long as you are writing for you, it will speak louder than any reviewer,” Drivdahl said. “I’m just happy that someone wants to read (“Joined”), and that I did something like this.”
Readers can find Drivdahl’s book on Amazon. Drivdahl plans to write two additional books in the series.