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Dreams Lie Beneath
Author:Rebecca Ross

It’s December 31 and I’m finally sitting down to write the acknowledgments for this fourth (how is that even possible?!) book of mine. I wanted to save this moment for the last day of 2020, a year that all of us will vividly remember. A year that brought immense challenges and heartache and a new way of life. It would be remiss of me if I did not mention working on this book all through the chaos of 2020, and to illuminate the people who made this book its best version, even as they were called to stay home and suddenly had to balance work and family and feelings of isolation and worry and fatigue and illness. I had moments when it felt difficult to open my manuscript and focus on what I had created, but I also think so many of us found peace and joy and wonder in books this year—writing them, revising them, and reading them—and my words now will never be enough to express my gratitude to the people who joined me on this journey and carried me through 2020.

To Suzie Townsend, agent extraordinaire. Thank you for making one of my greatest dreams a reality, for loving my stories and finding them the best homes, and for always being there for me. You are the best. To Dani Segelbaum, who helps me with vital behind-the-scenes things . . . I truly couldn’t do this without your assistance and insight, and I’m so thankful for you. To Mia Roman, Veronica Grijalva, and Victoria Hendersen, who all have been instrumental in my foreign rights and sales—thank you for working so endlessly and finding a home for my stories overseas. To the New Leaf Dream Team—I’m so honored to be one of your authors. Thank you for investing in me and my books.

To Karen Chaplin, my editor. Thank you for continuing to fearlessly step into the convoluted and verbose worlds I create and helping me find the threads to bring together to make a stronger story. It’s been an honor to work on four novels with you. To Rosemary Brosnan, I’m so delighted to be published by your inimitable team at Quill Tree Books. Thank you for loving my stories and giving them a place on the shelf. To my publicist, Lauren Levite, who brought so many wonderful opportunities my way despite the strangeness of 2020—thank you. To Bria Ragin, who has been with me and my stories since my debut year . . . thank you for all your notes and lovely emails. To my copy editor (I’m truly in awe of you!) who will forever be changing my greys into grays—thank you for polishing this manuscript. To my proofreaders, who help catch errors and ensure I’m making sense—thank you. To the production team, the marketing team, the sales team, the design team . . . y’all are simply amazing and I am eternally thankful for you and your expertise. To Molly Fehr and your absolutely gorgeous design ideas—I’m so happy that I got to have you for two book covers! To Annie Stegg Gerard, who illustrated the cover of my dreams—I’m in love with how beautiful it is. To Virginia Allyn, who illustrated the gorgeous map. I was thrilled to discover you were going to create another map for my book!

To my wonderful critique partner, Isabel Iba?ez, who made this year so much better with your stories and phone talk walks and insights into my messy first drafts—thank you, sweet friend.

To Ciannon Smart, thank you for reading an early copy. You inspire me in countless ways and I’m excited to see your books take flight.

To my readers, in the United States and abroad, who are so lovely and have encouraged me on the days when I felt like giving up. Thank you. I would not be where I am today without you. If there is a dream in your heart, one you’re secretly holding on to, I hope this is the year when you begin to see it come true.

To Mom and Dad, for always believing in me and my writing, even when I didn’t. You taught me all the magic I ever needed to know, and this book is for you. To my siblings—Caleb, Gabriel, Ruth, Mary, and Luke. Our D&D campaign has been one of the highlights of this year for me, and I love each of you fiercely. To my family—my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and in-laws—and my friends, thank you for always supporting this dream of mine.

To Sierra, who loved the quarantine because it meant we were home with you all the time. I have yet to write a story where a dog fails to appear, all because of you.

To Ben, my other half. At the beginning of this year, you told me, “2015 Becca would be very proud of 2020 Becca.” And that image has stayed with me, all through the ups and downs. To see how much I’ve grown and changed in the last five years—to realize how much I’ve accomplished. I can’t help but look forward to all the good things yet to come. Thank you for dreaming alongside me, always.

And to my Heavenly Father, for taking this small dream of mine and turning it into paper and ink. Soli Deo Gloria.