Emerala the Rogue was born in an attic. For a long time, she was nothing more than a ten- year-old girl dressed in 1980’s costume jewelry, swiping at shadows with her wooden sword. Her journey, and mine, has been filled with remarkable—and remarkably patient—people. As such, there are a great many people that I need to thank (and thank, and thank, and thank) fortalking me through crippling writer’s block and cheering me on through draft after draft.
First and foremost, I want to make sure I thank my parents for remaining patient with me in spite of the fact that I was completely intolerable as a young, suffering artist (think Hemingway, but seventeen). They have been my loudest cheerleaders since day one, and there’s no amount of gratitude strong enough to thank my father for all of those late night storyboarding conversations. Elizabeth, Katherine and Sam, thank you for our backyard adventures growing up, and for always indulging me in my wildly involved fantasy worlds. A great deal of the story was born in imaginary mermaid lagoons and during daring, wooden sword fights, and I have all of you to thank for that.
I also need to thank my graduate thesis professor and my awesome peer critique crew, all of whom who were always willing to tell me exactly what I needed to hear (even if it wasn’t always what I wanted to hear). The advice and encouragement I got during the pursuit of my Master’s degree has been invaluable in shaping the story.
I want to thank my extraordinary group of friends, all of whom who have always been willing to read (and reread) the rough drafts over the years. Nicole, thank you for crying alongside me as I made the toughest choice (you know the one, although I won’t write it here). I couldn’t have muddled through my post-book depression with you. Bekah, Allison and Mary Beth—thank you for being cheerleaders and for always being willing to share my story with everyone who would listen.
Emily, you are an actual, real wizard when it comes to everything computer related. You have saved my life time and time again, and I couldn’t have gotten through the last few months leading up to publication without you being a literal superhero.
Hilary and Alissa, thank you for going through the book’s opening and the first volume with a fine-toothed comb. Your hard work and brilliant commentary really set the dominoes falling to bring the final draft to completion.
Liz, you were, and you will always be, Nerani the Elegant. Thank you for helping me to bring the story to life in your parents’ attic, and for crying on my couch with a bottle of wine as the ad- venture finally, finally came to a close. Our respective journeys have veered quite far from sparring pirates and golden soldiers, but thanks to you, I’ll always feel like part of the adventure.
Last, but incredibly far from least, thank you to my loving husband for the countless hours spent listening to me read the story of Rogue Elegance aloud. His love of action movies and his understanding of basic physics (a lesson in school that I seem to have missed) really helped to ground the story and render it believable. Thank you, Jeff, for being my anchor, both in fiction and in reality.
This is Emerala’s story. This is Nerani’s story. But most of all, this is my story. I hope you all like it.