The boy swivelled towards her with his long legs that easily reached the floor where Cassy’s toes barely touched without stretching. He leaned in close, giving Cassy a cruel expression.
“What’s your name, new girl?”
Cassy tilted backwards in avoidance to being too close.
A menacing frown helped show his true colours. “Excuse me? I asked you a question."
Cassy's and Zack's first interaction is important. It may seem petty for Cassy to withhold her name. It's only a name, right? Why stir up trouble?
Cassy is the personification of courage. She's set her boundaries and maintained them so no one oversteps them. As a woman, I've allowed myself the discomfort of not expressing my boundaries by giving a man my phone number (whether it was fake or not), just to get them out of my hair. I've avoided speaking my mind in fear of sounding harsh or rude. I have always been mild mannered. Even as an adult, it's hard to allow myself to not feel guilty about telling someone no or I'm not comfortable with something.
I've tolerated a bully because I couldn't stand up for myself. I believed, and was told, that it would eventually end when they got bored. Yet, the only time it ended is when I stood up for myself. I never condone violence, but unfortunately, it took me punching my bully before he backed down. I should have never let it get to a point that I needed to risk my own well being. If I had stood up for myself, and set my boundaries, it would've ended so much sooner.
I've learned through the years, that yes, things do get better, BUT, why should I tolerate it? It doesn't make me happy, and I'm not comfortable. Why does a teenage girl have to tough it out when a person says something inappropriate to her? Why should a teenager have to live in fear for four years because a bully has set their sight on them. Yes, eventually it ends when high school ends, but they shouldn't have to take it.
Writing became a way for me to express feelings, doubts, and experiences. I wrote Cassy as the opposite of me. Cassy understands her boundaries and does not step down when placed in a difficult position. Zack assumes he's entitled to have her name, as though it's a sign of power when he hasn't given her his.
Cassy's world is falling apart, she's lost both parents, moved to a new city, and is dealing with her dysfunctional family. The last thing she will tolerate is a troublesome bully, who thinks he owns the world.
It was important for me that Cassy's character was head strong. She speaks her mind (which gets her into trouble). Even if she wavers throughout The Egyptian Heir with who she is and what she can handle, she tries to hold true to herself.
It is important that no one feels like they are forced to do something they don't want. Whether female, male, LGBTQ+; a child, a teenager, or an adult, know that you have the power over your own boundaries. Never feel obligated to demean yourself for an entitled person.
Everyone has those books that have captured their attention. You were swept up to a point that you forgot you were reading. For many years of my early life, I would only touch a book if it was required for school. It was so difficult to force myself to sit down and read. WELL, that all changed when I found these books. I became engrossed in them, and it encouraged me to continue the reading journey, and they led me down the path to writing.
The Tunnels of Time by Mary Bishop
This was the first book I remember reading through. At this time, I lived in Moose Jaw, SK. I couldn't escape from this book as I could see the references of places and the history of my city. Absolutely amazing! I followed suit when I started to write, and the Egyptian Heir was originally based in Moose Jaw, SK. I changed it around 2014, when it didn't make sense to have a secret agency based out of a smaller city, and less centralized.
I met Mary Bishop in Grade 8, when she visited my class. At that time, I had just started writing, and was too shy to talk to her. However, meeting a local author was quite inspiring and I listened to every word!
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
This was the first multi-book series that I read. I learned a lot about unique writing styles from this book. The writing was clever, and never took itself too seriously. It's something every writer or reader should learn; have fun with the story!
I don't think I'd ever be able to write myself in as a character, but definitely, every character holds some truth to reality, whether its personality (behaviour), or an experience. Every author will insert themselves into the story in some shape or form (it may be quite abstract!).
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling
The thin man stepped out of the cauldron, staring at Harry....
Lord Voldemort had risen again.
This book was the first young adult book that touched on many dark aspects. This section always gave me chills. I would give up a lot to be able to re-read this book for the first time again. I may be cliched to say that Harry Potter introduced me to the fantastical world of magic, but it's true! As it did for so many! It revolutionized the fantasy world.
Though The Egyptian Heir is more adventure, than fantasy, I have written other stories that broach the world of magic! (Can't wait to share those stories eventually!)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K Rowling
You can't have a list of books without a couple Harry Potters in it. I read the Harry Potters out of order. I began with Goblet of Fire, realized that there were prequels to it, and then read Prisoner of Azkaban because at the time, I couldn't find Philosopher's (Sorcerer's [now own both, because, why not?]) Stone and Chamber of Secrets.
This one got me into Ancient Greek, Egypt, and Roman lore. I also became enthralled in Medieval British, German, French history. All of the minute details within this book are so fascinating and well researched. Small, detailed Easter eggs keep the reader entertained for hours. I love dropping small details in that readers will miss, usually, on the first read.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
This one is controversial (such as it is with every book) as people will either LOVE it or HATE it! Though the plot follows the same plot of some other stories, it captivated me. It kept me engaged. This was the first novel that I read that had an actual language created. I adored the way that the linguistics were used and written. Language has captivated me since starting to write because English is a language of languages, which carries exceptions and strange rules to everything.
Christopher Paolini was the first author I learned about self (indy) publishing. He was an inspiring building block to eventually deciding to self publish.
Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
I, again, started this series in the middle. This is one, that if you aren't sure what's happening, it will quickly become confusing. However, series took me for a brilliant ride! I was enchanted by the clever banter and the well developed world and characters.
This was the story that truly taught me to delve deep into character development. After reading the Artemis Fowl series, I reexamined my characters. They were one dimensional. I needed more growth (in 95 pages from the original story, there's not much development that occurred). As a writer, it's all about the joy to explore their past, present, and future.
As my second introduction to new languages, Artemis Fowl and Eragon helped me to investigate the creation of languages. I've actually followed a similar route (not in The Egyptian Heir, but in another novel, which I will hopefully share soon!) and created a language with a full index.
Last, but certainly, not least,
Shadow Children Series by Margaret Peterson Haddix
This series sends you on a whirlwind of emotion. Young Readers should 100% read this series. It is complex in a sense that it touches on a lot of future human problems (overpopulation, and low food supply). I haven't read anything quite like it, but maybe I'm biased because I liked it so much when I was young, and then as an adult, it's a fun, quick read.
It's set in a futuristic world, but uses historical events to build on how humans would moderate each other. This series encouraged me to look at the psychology and sociological aspects of human civilization. Certain circumstances, when writing, there's only a few ways a person would behave. That is something that I've always considered when writing. I don't want it to be beyond ridiculous to the reader that a character did something.
These are the books that have guided me down my path of writing; to learn my writing styles and my interests. Please share with me the books you love and have inspired you to pursue the written word.