The story of Embassy Row is a long one. Not the book, of course. That clocks in at roughly 310 pages. But the origin story of the series itself goes all the way back to 2007.
At the time, I was starting the third Gallagher Girls novel and had just sold the first Heist Society. I was in no position to take on another series so, of course, that is when a great idea hit me. I was talking with my local librarian whose son had recently started college.
“What’s he majoring in?” I asked.
“He wants to work in the Foreign Service,” she said. “But I don’t know how I feel about that, because that means my grandchildren will grow up in embassies all around the world.”
Well, you can’t just say something like that to a YA thriller writer and not expect consequences. From that point on, I became obsessed with writing a series about kids who grow up in embassies, little micro-nations that stand all in a row. Different cultures. Different languages. Different stakes than any other street in the world.
Through the years, the idea evolved quite a lot, but by the time I was actually able to start writing (in 2013), I knew that Embassy Row was like no other place I’d ever read about, and Grace was different than any character I’ve ever known.
When Grace was thirteen she saw her mother murdered and, worse yet, nobody believes her. Not her grandfather, the ambassador or her father, the Army Ranger. Not even her brother, the West Point cadet. Only Grace believes in the “Scarred Man” who shot and killed her mother. So Grace alone is going to have to find him and make him pay.
Once I was finally able to start writing, it was wonderful to mentally “move in” to Embassy Row. It felt like taking a vacation that I’d been planning for years. I was finally there! And then, all too soon, it was over.
Of course, there are two more Embassy Row books coming, but that’s too long to wait, I’m afraid. Both for the readers and for myself. So when Amazon offered me the opportunity to return to Adria and Embassy Row even sooner—to get to introduce readers to Grace and to Adria in a whole new way—I jumped at the chance.
Some might think it strange to revisit a story after the book is already written, but in this case it felt like the most natural thing in the world. In Before The Fall: Arrivalwe literally get to arrive in Adria with Grace, to see her mother’s homeland for the first time since her mother’s death, to watch Grace lash out and challenge authority as only a girl who is constantly walking a tightrope can do.
It’s not a huge story, but I’m extremely proud of it. Hopefully, Kindle readers will take this opportunity to travel to Embassy Row and meet Grace for themselves.
And then I genuinely hope they, like me, will want to stay.