I set out to complete a new YA WIP for NaNoWriMo, however I didn’t reach that goal. My world was turned upside down in the middle of November because of the Woolsey Fire, and it was too hard to focus on day-to-day activities, much less keep up with my daily word count. It feels appropriate that a fire was what held me back from writing about a teenage fire-knife dancer.
I started writing again after the holidays and after receiving feedback from my CPs, was finally ready to query in March. I got some likes during #PitMad (yay!) and more importantly, some great interest and feedback from my fellow writers and readers. They liked the premise? They want to read it? Ahhh!
So what is the premise? Aptly titled FIRE-KNIFE GIRL, the story follows Kalea Pasi, a sixteen-year-old girl who lives on the North Shore of Hawaii–paradise, really–except she struggles to make ends meet even working two jobs. She dreams of becoming a fire-knife dancer, not only for the higher wages, but to fulfill her late grandpa’s legacy. To be considered for the traditionally male role, she promises the new director she’ll show his entitled teenage son around the island. Cue the enemies-to-lovers trope, a lot of dangerous stunts, and a surprise visit from his jealous girlfriend…
I had a lot of fun writing FIRE-KNIFE GIRL, especially since it takes place in my hometown. The best part is that it was inspired by real fire-knife girls. When I was in Hawaii last summer, I saw a young woman spinning a fire-knife at the PCC night show. I’d never seen a woman spin before and I was so intrigued. What was her story? What obstacles did she face to get her place on stage? The story pieced itself together before my return flight and the more I delved into the subject, the more fire-knife girls I found. They’re few and far between, but fierce and feminist role models. I only hope their stories (and mine) will inspire more girls to chase their dreams and bask in the spotlight.
And because I love making videos, here’s how I imagine Kalea.