Of all the authors I’m lucky enough to work with, I think I’ve known Miya longest. I might have read Nick Earls’ work before I met her, but Miya and I encountered each other on MySpace more than a decade ago, now, and what began as two friends admiring each other’s work has become not only a business relationship but a close friendship, as well.
I first became aware of Miya’s work through MySpace, though I don’t believe I had read it; this was in the days before digital publishing (besides MySpace’s blogging functionality). I knew her prose through the site and some stories I saw.
And I knew that she won a contest that meant a small press published what was then, I believe, The Island series: “What Once Was,” “What May Be,” and “What Will Be.” She was one of two winners; the other was one EL James, whom you may be familiar with as the author of the popular Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.
I often joke that Random House might have gotten the bestseller, but I got the better book and there’s hope for it yet.
When we began working together I remember reading those books and becoming enthralled; Miya is one of the finest prose stylists I’ve ever encountered. The words just work, imbued as they are with a careful, deliberate, and intricate magic. There are sentences I simply marvel over.
I remember sitting down with the books and beginning to plan, to lay them out and think about covers and how we would market them. I started playing with images and ideas, and around the same time, Miya took the opportunity to revisit the world, smoothing out any still-rough spots. I remember when she had the idea that the island was Asylum, and how resonant that felt.
And I remember sitting with the original titles and thinking, “Wait. Do we need the ‘what’?”
We didn’t. We already had a saga.