The Strings of the Violin is a Young Adult fantasy novel interweaving Eastern European folklore with modern day characters.
Seventeen-year-old Carrie is lying in her backyard ignoring all the looming responsibilities in her life, when a fox makes a mad dash across the grass in front of her. After she manages to keep her dog from attacking the frightened animal, the fox turns to Carrie and seems to bow in gratitude before he disappears into the bushes. All Carrie knows in that moment is that something has unexpectedly changed in her life. Carrie has been best friends with Lindsay Smith and Rebecca Campbell for years. During a summer when they should focus on choosing colleges, the girls suddenly find themselves swept away on the adventure of their lives. The fox reappears three days later and reveals to Carrie that he is Adom, emissary to the king of Hadariah. With his land of music and magic in peril, Adom has been sent to seek help from Carrie and her friends. In the blink of an eye, the three teenage girls go from living an average suburban life to being the champions of a world where they must contend with giants, witches, and magical beings. Will they ever make it home once more?
So I was given absolute freedom about what I could write about for this blog post, and I approached it unsure of how I was even going to start. To begin with, I am an author of Horror and YA Fantasy. I have a zombie novel out now with Severed Press, and a YA Fantasy novel out with Prizm books. Some people may think that this puts me at two very different ends of a very interesting spectrum, but I write what I like to read, and this may lead me down many more paths in the future since I read a lot of very different types of books. I am also a mother of triplets. My sons and my daughter are all two and a half right now, and so my life is a little bit hectic at the moment.
Many people hear that I have triplets, and I’m a writer, and a props manager for my husband’s theatre company, and I am also a property manager, and they look at me as if I must have lost my mind somewhere down the road. One of the most common comments I tend to get to this revelation is “Oh my god! You must be Superman!” I tend to respond by looking down to ascertain that I have not, in fact, changed gender, and say “No. That would be my son Phillip. Joseph is Batman, and on some days Hailey likes to pretend to be Spiderman, and sometimes she’s Wonder Woman. I am just their mother.” You see, I intend to raise my children not with Princess culture, or with Cars, or things like that. I want them to think that being in love with SciFi, or Fantasy, or comic books is just awesome. My co-author on my zombie novel Bath Salts once told me that I am raising my very own geek army. I like to think that she is right.
From the start, my kids have known what superheroes are, and how they are here to save the world from the forces of evil. Granted, they occasionally call them all by the interchangeable name of “Man Man”, but we’re getting there. Phillip can’t go a day without wearing one of his many “Man Man shirts”. Hailey loves to make her baby dolls fly through the air like the superheroes do. Joseph thinks that it would be fantastic if he could see Superman fight zombies. I caught him looking through a copy of Recorded Zombie Attacks, a graphic novel by Max Brooks and he asked me why Superman wasn’t there.
But you see, it’s not just superheroes that I’m teaching my children about. I am teaching them the value of their imagination. They play dress-up with great gusto, and they pretend to be wizards, and aliens, and all sorts of wonderful and magical beings. They have magic wands, and make potions with their tea sets to give to people and turn them into frogs and, in some cases, monsters. To me, fostering this love of pretend is at least as important as fostering the knowledge of how to count, or the alphabet. To see them lost in play is absolutely wonderful and inspiring to me as their mother.
Recently I was a guest at FanExpo in Toronto and I got the chance to see the children cosplaying with their parents as they walked around the convention. I got a chance to speak with some of the kids and they told me that this was better than Halloween for them. I left thinking about how great it would be when my kids were old enough to do this. I thought about all the great ideas for costumes that I could do with triplets. These ideas ranged from: Phineas, Ferb, and Candace from Phineas and Ferb, to The Doctor, Amy, and Rory from Doctor Who, or a trio of X-Men.
I wrote my book The Strings of the Violin for my kids. I wrote it as the type of story I would have loved growing up, and I hope that they will too one day. Until then, I will leave you with this:
Recently, Joseph had to be taken to the hospital because he had injured himself at home, and we reacted like typical overprotective parents, desperate to make sure he was all right. After we had left and he had been pronounced “okay” by the doctor. I asked him if he’d been scared. He told me “No mommy.” I asked why the doctor hadn’t scared him. His response: “Doctor Who?” and he laughed with a delighted smile on his face. I think my work here is done.