Allie Carmichael has always believed life is simple.
She has no cause to believe that equation works differently for her, but there has to be a reason the world treats her like a pariah.
When an unexpected move to Kelleys Island brings Aidan McBrien crashing into her life, Allie is thrown by his reaction. He doesn’t shrink from her touch. He doesn’t stutter or make a quick exit. He smiles and welcomes her into his circle of friends, who aren’t exactly comfortable with Allie, but they seem to get her in a way most people don’t.
Finally, Allie has a real shot at normal and rides that high right up to her sixteenth birthday when she wakes in agony—an experience Aidan insists they have all faced. She struggles in ignorance, uncertain of what is real and what isn’t. When she emerges, Allie is different. She has always been different, but even among her extraordinary friends, she and Aidan are special.
As Allie struggles to maintain her tenuous grasp on the power that threatens to overwhelm her, she worries she will lose herself in this strange new world. A dangerous world where she will have to fight tooth and nail to defend the power and freedom that is her birthright.
…only Allie hates to fight.
“No one has ever understood me like you do, Allie” Aidan said. “But you’ve only seen me with my family. Wherever I go, other Immortals are cold and distant. Some actually think I should be controlled, like I couldn’t possibly be trusted with this much power.
“My training is brutal, and I’ve tried to shield that from you for as long as possible. I’m in pain most of the time because I have to work so hard to stay one step ahead. If I slack off for even a day, I could lose control. It’s just so exhausting! I’ll be a target before I’m thirty and I know I have to be ready to defend myself from those who would take what’s mine, but sometimes I’d gladly give it all away. I hate teaching Chloe, and now they have me working with Graham, too. I don’t want to be this authority figure to my friends, but Dad insists I take a leadership role. He claims people will always look to me for guidance and I need to learn to shoulder that responsibility now. I just wish I didn’t have to practice on my friends.”
“I know you hate it.” Allie was so glad that he was finally letting it all out. “But you’re a natural leader. The others respect you, yes, but they love you, Aidan. And don’t ever forget, I don’t see you that way. So when it gets to be too much, I’m here. You can’t keep it bottled up like this. I had no idea you felt such pressure!”
“Allie, you’ve been a godsend for me these last months.”
“But you’ve been so preoccupied with taking care of me and helping me through all of this, you haven’t thought of yourself and what you need. It’s time you stop focusing on me so much. I’m doing okay now, Aidan. You got me through it. Let me be here for you now.”
“I’m a fixer, Allie. Taking care of others is what I do. I don’t know how to turn it off.” He shrugged. “You know I’ve not always dealt with this life very well. You’ve heard the stories about me before you came along.” “But that’s when everything changed. I had an equal. For the first time in my life, I could be with another person and not feel their fear and discomfort. I love you, Allie. I can’t help it, it just feels so damned natural.”
“I need you in my life. In whatever way you’ll have me,” he said in a rush. “We could be amazing together, I know it and you know it, but you have so much on your plate. It’s too much. I get that now,” he said miserably. “It was selfish of me to push so hard so soon.”
“Aidan Loukas, you are the most selfless person I know! It’s difficult to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and I’m just as guilty of that as you are. It’s been all about me for months and I haven’t stopped to think about how this has affected you too. You know how much you mean to me. I love the closeness we share and I crave it just as much as you do. In a different way, I suppose, but that’s not fair. I don’t know if I can explain my feelings well enough for you to understand, but—you and I—it’s just too much. I don’t want to be that girl who’s nothing without her boyfriend. I want to be a reflection of what I love—of who I am on my own, not just an empty echo of who I love. Does that make sense?”
“You think I’d overwhelm you?” he asked.
“We’d overwhelm each other.”
What Inspired Me to Write the Emerge Series?
The honest, quick answer to this question is I ran out of things to read.
It was the beginning of summer, I was in college taking a studio art course for six weeks, but it was my only class that semester. I had time to read, but when I reached for my bookshelf, there was nothing waiting for me. For the first time ever my TBR pile was nothing but dust bunnies and half read art history textbooks. For weeks, I searched for something fun to read, (and I was totally geeking for a YA fix) but everything I picked up just didn’t do it for me. The female leads were just so … annoying and the unrealistic romances were just killing me. I was so disappointed with the way young women were represented, and I was very vocal about it. A friend finally told me to stop crabbing and just write something myself. So I did, after a long argument with myself about all the reasons why I couldn’t or shouldn’t attempt it. I lost that argument and then I couldn’t stop thinking about what my story would be–not that I ever thought I’d actually do it. I was in art school–which means I didn’t sleep for four years. How was I going to write a book when my days were filled with four-hour classes and all-nighters spent finishing projects?? (Seriously, I used to wish for tests!)
Later that summer, sitting in yet another studio art course, drawing for eight hours a day, I thought of little else. I was inspired to write a story that could show young readers that a strong female lead does not have to be strong to the detriment of her male counterpart. I wanted to show readers that men and women can be equally strong together, and that real strength does not mean a character must be hard and jaded.
I knew I wanted to do something different and I decided early on that my characters would be young Immortals with cool powers and that their parents would have amazing histories. I also knew that beneath all the supernatural elements, I wanted to create a dynamic of gender equality rarely seen in YA. Over the years, Emerge has gone through many different phases and it’s light years away from my original draft, but that core message has been my motivation and inspiration since I wrote the first word on the first page.