A half-Thai, half-American who has also lived in Laos and China, Donaya Haymond got her first paid publishing spot in the summer of 2003, a book recommendation for Travel Around the World magazine. Her multi-year spot on the staff doing the only English column in the Thai periodical probably came about because her mother was old school chums with the editor. But with that came a chance to get published in That's Beijing. And with that she gained both the confidence and credentials to have Samsara and Aoife's Kiss, both fantasy magazines, to pay attention to her. Later she won an Honorable Mention in the Arena Stage Young Playwright's Contest of 2008 for her avant-garde ten-minute script about young people, love, and mood disorders. She also ended her high school career with a $500 scholarship for excellence in writing, the first year the prize was ever awarded there.
Through these successes, though, her love was chiefly for Laconia and its residents (past, present, and future). What started out as an extremely elaborate version of imaginary friends evolved to a Cinderella story if the prince were actually a contract. The fairy godmother, Sally Odgers, she met at Fanstory.com. The award-winning, amazingly prolific Tasmanian author, wordsmith, teacher, and manuscript assessor provided Donaya with advice, encouragement, and eventually a letter of recommendation. Now she has edited her first three novels with Eternal Press and remains a mentor without equal.
"Donaya" is taken from the Pali Sanskrit word for "daughter", pronounced "DAWN-ah-yah", and it is "HAY-mond", not "Hammond".
Haymond attends college in Virginia and spends winter and summer vacations wherever her parents happen to be living at the moment. Her Thai is fluent but barely shy of being illiterate (she can read road signs in Thailand with some strain, children's books with help and agony). She enjoys fencing sabre, but almost always loses a bout. Her singing is better than her feeble attempts at athletics but nothing particularly distinguished. She identifies herself as having Bipolar Disorder that usually doesn't prevent her functioning at a high level, though it is sometimes necessary that she be given accommodations. Raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by her father, despite having a Buddhist mother, she now claims ideological kinship with the Unitarian Universalists despite her rarely going to the meetings - she adores the local congregation but simply has no convenient mode of transport. Her greatest fear is driving a car. Her greatest wish is that love will turn out, in the end, to have been enough.
Accepting yourself can be unusually difficult. Taylor Calvin is a hardworking, intelligent high school student who’s been stretching herself a bit thin lately. This is not improved by the appearance of Tylianvornika, a ghost that claims to be Taylor from a previous life in another dimension, one she shared with her closest friends. Now Taylor must juggle daily problems that merely feel like the end of the world, along with memories and a persistent haunting concerning the actual ending of a world.
“Are you an angel?” Taylor believed strongly in angels, but never thought one would come to her.
“Again, sort of. I’m kind of a transfigured being. Did you think what happened today was a string of coincidences? They were echoes, Taylor Calvin. Your memories have been asleep, and they are awaking.”
“Can I at least know your name, kind of a transfigured being?”
The girl’s insubstantial, colorless lips smiled slightly. “I’m glad I didn’t change much.”
“I am Tylianvornika, resident of Canyonar, which is now pretty much nonexistent. The entire universe vanished too. Kind of upsetting, really. Right now I am sleeping in my world, in the split second before I die. I have been promised that, after I die, I and my friends will be reborn into a new world passing through the test that Canyonar failed. That is, I’m you.”
“Today seems familiar because it happened before, but on a greater scale. I am here to tell you about the last year of your previous life—the last year of my life.” She laughed, dropping all the mystical pretension in her voice and sounding like an adolescent again. “It’s pretty exciting for me too.”
The novel is the third in Haymond's Legends of Laconia, USA series, but may be read independently of the previous two entries. It is perhaps the most personally involved of the books, having been written during the difficult period immediately after she began treatment for her mood disorder and was forced to move countries partway through the semester in order to get the care she needed. Besides being an absorbing read, Waking Echoes serves as a metaphor for Haymond's radical change in self-image - at age 15-16, no less - and her journey to acheive wholeness.
About Heather Dade, writing as Heather Kuehl
Heather Dade, writing as Heather Kuehl (pronounced "keel"), was born near the Great Lakes, but made her way to South Carolina where she lives to this day. She's the author of Epiphany (an ARe best seller) and The Sarah Vargas Series. The first installment of the Sarah Vargas Series, Fade to Black, reached #1 on Fictionwise.com's best seller list for fantasy ebooks. For more information about Heather's published works, upcoming releases, and events visit her website; http://www.mrsheyhey.com/