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A book influencer on multiple platforms, including TikTok and Instagram, Stacey McEwan had written several novels but wasn’t sure she would or could ever sell one to a traditional publishing house. But she didn’t give up. And after sharing her story ideas with her social media followers—she has more than 300,000 followers on TikTok alone—McEwan was flooded with requests for a book about a human village controlled by mystical winged creatures.
The result is Ledge. A gritty fantasy, the book is about a community of humans trapped on a sliver of land between an unclimbable cliff and a bottomless chasm. Controlled by winged creatures called Glacians who distribute food in exchange for a periodic human sacrifice, the village offers up Dawsyn Sabar, the book’s protagonist. An axe wielder and the only remaining member of her family, Dawsyn, with the help of a rebel half-human named Ryon, escapes the Glacians’ mountain prison, but her odds of survival are slim. And her precarious journey is only just beginning, as Dawsyn must trust the very being she fears most, to not only ensure her own survival but that of those who remain trapped—and for whom she is their only hope.
McEwan, who works as a school teacher in Australia, began writing Ledge in March 2021. “I am a victim of mass peer pressure,” McEwan says. “I say that with deep affection, because without those many voices nudging me to go ahead and do the thing, the thing may never have been written. My husband had a big hand in pushing me along as well. He knows how much I’ve always wanted to write professionally.”
After finishing the final draft of Ledge in August 2021, McEwan planned to self-publish. But before she could, Amy Collins, a literary agent at Talcott Notch, reached out. A fan of McEwan’s TikTok feed, Collins asked the author to give her one month to find a traditional publishing deal for Ledge. Within a week, Angry Robot signed on. McEwan canceled the self-published version, but her fans—who had preordered the book and fully supported her publishing journey—reordered the new edition. The book is poised to become a bestseller on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in Australia.
Before Collins reached out, McEwan says that she never thought about finding an agent to represent Ledge. “I’d previously spent a few years querying agents with no success,” McEwan says. “Granted, I was pitching manuscripts that I’d now rather burn than have read by another living soul. I had this fantastic group of people online who were enthusiastic about reading Ledge, and I decided self-publishing was the best course. In short, I had lost faith in the idea of becoming traditionally published. I honestly didn’t believe it was a door worth knocking on for me until it was.”
Although Ledge is her first novel, McEwan has been writing fantasy fiction for the last 12 years. “I love writing stories in a world that isn’t restricted by the laws of ours,” she says. “I’ve tried to deviate, but it always fails. Someone always ends up with powers, falls through a portal, develops a knack for communing with the dead, and so on.”
Ledge, which launches McEwan’s Glacian Trilogy series, blends fantasy with science fiction and romance. The author calls it a “romantacy” novel. “It has all the common elements of a high fantasy novel: the worldbuilding, fantasy species, magic systems,” she says, “but the romance drives much of the plot in this first book.”
Currently, McEwan is at work editing book two in the Glacian Trilogy. “It has been an arduous journey, but I think it showcases my best work,” she says. “Buckle up, this world is lawless, and I’ve given Dawsyn way too much free rein, yeehaw!”
As for the series’ book three, it’s all been mapped out. “The first thing I did after outlining Ledge was look into how the entire story would unfold,” McEwan says, “so that I’d know how many books would be in the series.”
With a day job, two children, and a husband, McEwan uses any spare moment she can find to write. “I gather snacks and drinks and place them within reaching distance,” she says. “I turn my phone notifications off and all but chuck the thing across the room where it can’t be reached. I look over my outline, and then the fun begins.”
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