Author Guest Post: Lisa Dunn (The Chasmaria Chronicles)

Posted March 25, 2024 by Jen in Author Guest Post Tags: ,

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Lisa Dunn

First and foremost, thank you, Jen, for hosting me today. It’s a privilege and honor to share my words and reflections with fellow readers!

The following excerpt is from my first novel, GRIT OF BERTH AND STONE. It also happens to be one of my favorite scenes from this trilogy. More on that later… In this scene, sixteen-year-old Grit has run away from the village in which she was raised (never mind they banished her) and sought peace on the shores of the Southern Sea. Ezekiel, a blind pearl diver, has taken her and Worm, the dog who followed her to the sea, under his wing. (A little backstory for clarity: In Grit’s home village, birds were viewed as a threat and often vigorously shooed away.)

As winter progressed, Grits swims became infrequent. She spent the first portion of each morning sitting on the beach, sometimes with Worm and Ezekiel, sometimes with only Worm, watching the waves lap against the shore. The birds were plentiful on this secluded beach, where no one rushed at them with shrieks and well-aimed pebbles as they did in Thresh.

They are peaceful creatures,” Grit said to Ezekiel one morning. They care nothing for our activities, so busy are they with their own. It is strange I had to travel so far to see them as they really are.”

A small gull waded along the waters edge. A second gull swept down and circled about the first birds head, as if to urge her to take flight with him. Again and again, he circled high above, then swept down close, but she remained fixed on the shore, gentle waves lapping against her stubborn, twig-like legs.

Grit could not contain the scream that welled up from the core of her being. Fly with him, stupid creature!”

Her fingers curled around the rock shed been rolling in the sand. As she raised her hand above her head to throw the stone at the bird, Ezekiels hand closed over hers.

You arent angry at birds, Grit.” His finger gently pried hers apart, and the stone dropped to the sand with a thud.

She looked to the east, away from Ezekiel. The rising sun, that glaring orb of gold, seemed to shine on all her folly.

It didnt have to be like this, Ezekiel, me flying alone to the very edge of Chasmaria. He told me to fight, but I didnt have the strength. He would have come with me…” Her voice trailed off, her energy spent.

Book cover of Grit of Berth and Stone by Lisa DunnEzekiels voice was quiet and unimposing. Why didnt he come with you?”

Grit gulped, the gravity of her error tight as a rope around her neck. I told him he was a fool.”

Ezekiel released his hold on her and placed his hand on the sand between them. It is strange, isnt it, the extents to which we must sometimes go to see ourselves as we really are?”

Grit looked into his eyes, vacant since he had punished them for their deception, and placed her hand over his. Strange indeed,” she said.

Over the Southern Sea, the two birds rose into the air, circling each other over and over until Grit could no longer tell one from the other. It is all very strange indeed.”

Now, what I love about this scene… 

As a reader and a writer, I am an absolute sucker for symbolism. To take something as simple and unromantic as seagulls and turn them into a symbol for something deeper, something that touches the most secret places of the heart… I love it when I see it in others’ work, and it’s a joy to include it in my own. I also love the quietness of the scene and of Ezekiel’s nature, especially in contrast with Grit’s inner turmoil as it threatens to spill into violence. The span of human emotions is vast, but what a wonder it is, in fiction and in life, that we can face the scary emotions, let them go, and be comforted and strengthened by nobler ones.

About the Book:

Grit of Berth and Stone

Banished for a foolish mistake, sixteen-year-old Grit scorns the loss of her home, her honor, and her only ally. Only the weak worry about such things.

But war is brewing all across Chasmaria, and as a group of rebels pull Grit into their ranks, she begins to question what strength, courage, and honor really look like. When faced with a horrible truth about herself, Grit must either fight her way back to Thresh or live with the blood of the innocent on her hands.

Author head shot of Lisa DunnAuthor: Lisa Dunn
Series: The Chasmaria Chronicles, #1
Genre: Young Adult Christian Fantasy
Release Date: March 17, 2015

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