Obscura Burning: The Second Coming! by  Suzanne van Rooyen
November 08

Obscura Burning: The Second Coming! by Suzanne van Rooyen

Many people already know this book from when it was first published back in 2012. But many people don't know the story of how Obscura Burning found a second home at Harmony Ink Press.

About a year or so after being published in 2012, the publisher decided to close its YA imprint and re-home all those titles with a new company. When that didn't go as planned, a lot of those titles – mine included – were left in a bit of a limbo for a while, waiting to see if the previous publisher would want them back. They did, for a while. And then they didn't.

When the rights were returned to me, I was devastated. Obscura Burning was my first published YA book. I was so proud of this story and it had received so many positive reviews that I felt I owed it to Kyle and Shira and Danny to keep their story out in the world. I also didn't really know what to do next: post Obscura Burning on Wattpad? Have a go at self-publishing? Try to find a new home for this book with a trad publisher even though I knew the odds were slim to none? Having the rights to a work returned to you can be one of the most overwhelming experiences for an author. I simply didn't know what to do and I turned to my agent at the time for some much needed advice.

We decided to seek a new home for Obscura Burning with a traditional publisher. Now, having your book published the first time round by a trad house is a little like winning the lottery. Trying to find an editor willing to take on a book carrying the stigma of 'previously published' without any accompanying accolades like 'best-seller' or 'award winner' was going to be pretty much impossible.

In the mean time, I had written and had published a new YA novel, The Other Me. My publisher this time was Harmony Ink Press – a fabulous house determined to get positive LGBT+ stories for teens onto shelves. I knew I wanted Obscura Burning to find a new home with Harmony Ink, but I wasn't sure they'd accept a previously published work, but nevertheless my agent appended them to a sickening short list of trad publishers willing to consider previously published books.

Luckily, thankfully, gratefully Harmony Ink accepted my work for publication! Even now, whenever I look at the stunning new cover, I have to pinch myself to make sure this is real and that my book really is going back out into the world.

Not only did Harmony Ink Press give Obscura Burning the second chance it deserved, they also gave me the second chance I desperately needed as an author.

See, when I first wrote Obscura Burning, and later when I was editing it with its first publisher, I was a little scared to write what the story needed. I was still battling some of my own demons and insecurities, and consequently I played it safe in the story in ways I knew I shouldn't have, namely when it came to letting Kyle identify as bisexual. In the first edition, I never let him fully commit to that identity. Working with a new editor at Harmony Ink, however, allowed me to go back into the story and change what I knew needed to be changed without compromising the original story or overarching themes of the work, letting Kyle be who he really is and who I should've let him be from the start.

Readers who pick up the second edition may be a little surprised by some of the other tweaks to the story, but I hope they'll understand that everything I've changed has been done with the best of intentions in order to make the book