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But Ratha didn't go away. She was starting to prowl the infant Internet, finding readers who hadn't forgotten her. Unknown to me, many readers had taken Ratha into their hearts and had never forgotten her. She was the subject of emails and chats between lone fans who had at long last found each other. A Ratha role-playing site sprang up, Clan Ground of the Named. Artwork based on the series appeared at sites such as The Lion King Fan Art Archive and DevArt.
Although I have been Internet-savvy from the mid 1990's, I had no idea all this was going on. Perhaps I caught hints, but didn't really want to see or believe. Stubborn are those who have lost faith, especially in their own creations. Even when my then-to-be husband Chuck, told me about the Ratha role-playing site, I still thought the series was dead.
Then, in 2003, came the call from Viking-Penguin/Firebird editor Sharyn November. Actually the call came to my hubby at work, saying that the editor of the acclaimed Firebird Books line wanted to contact me. Then came a series of getting-to-know-you emails. Sharyn interacts with teen readers through the Internet, taking their recommendations for out of print fantasy books, and re-issuing them in her Firebird line. Her young advisors had suggested my Ratha series. Would I be interested in writing a new Ratha? If I did, the new title would pull the series back into print.
Stunned with joy and disbelief, I took a day or so to think about it. In the crevices of my brain, Ratha stirred, awakening after a 13-year sleep. After years away from the series, could I do another book? Did I have the same feel for the Named? Could I still work the magic that put readers into the body and behind the eyes of a prehistoric big cat? If I could, would this be an instant rewind to the promise of 1983, but this time a real success? Visions of celebrity, riches, acclaim, loomed again before my eyes...this time the promise could be made real.