Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How Your Mother Is Always Right

It might take most of your life to come to the conclusion that your mother is always right. (Well, almost always) Many times, when mothers suggest or advise, we don't listen at first, but inevitably we conclude, that well, yes, they were right.

This was true for me almost three years ago. My kids and I were visiting my parents during a break for school and I was talking books with my mom. I had just finished writing a manuscript and was mulling over story ideas. She suggested I write a novel about the mythology of indigenous people. "Why don't you write something about Mayan myths," she said. My family is from Guatemala, and we are descendants of the Mayan people.

Right away I waved off her suggestion. I don't know why; maybe it's just what we do. However, it didn't take me too long to realize that yes, my mother was right! As I drove home that afternoon, I kept thinking about her suggestion. It is a two and a half drive home from my parents', so I had some great thinking time. I love to think when I drive. During that drive, I shut off any music or audio book I might have ordinarily listened to. All I wanted to do was think. And the ideas came full and fast. I could barely take in all the details that I had flying through my head, and since I was driving, I couldn't write them down. By the time I got home, I had the story mapped out in my head.

As soon as I got home, I wrote down some details, and then it was time for the research. I researched the mythology of several indigenous people before I settled on the Incas. Some of the Inca folklore seemed to fit the ideas I had been creating in my head during the drive. That is how my story was born--with one well-placed suggestion by my mother, a two and a half hour drive, and some Internet research.

As I delved further into the Inca mythology, I loved the idea of taking some facets of their mythology and adding my own invented ideas to that mythology.

That story idea was born almost three years ago. Now, my story is complete, and I am so happy that my YA novel, The Huaca, will be published in May. A huaca (pronounced waca) is an object that represents something revered. Huaca is a word from the Quechua language, a native American language of South America.

My story, of course, wouldn't exist without my mother's wonderful suggestion. So, remember, next time you are about to wave off your mother's suggestion, chances are she's probably right. Just listen to her.

In my next post, I'll answer the often-asked question:  "So, what is your book about?"

Monday, September 10, 2012

How Twilight Sucked Me In (Pun Intended only a little bit)

Let me tell you whyI like the Twilight books. My reason is not because of Edward. In fact, I really don't like Edward at all. It's also not because of the vampires and certainly not because of Bella. What really drew me to the series is the Quileute legends. The Quileute mythology portrayed in the novels, some of which is based on the indigenous people of Washington state and some of which was created by Stephenie Meyer, is what really sucked me in to the Twilight books. 

The Quileute mythology is just a secondary storyline in the novels, but it is what has kept me reading the books and watching the movies. According to the mythology, the early Quileute were changed from wolves. Meyer uses this facet of the mythology and elaborated on it, added to it as authors do. She created new and interesting facets such as having some members of the Quileute tribe transform into werewolves and imprint on others. What she did in adding to the existing mythology is so fascinating to me. 

The mythology of indigenous people is really interesting to me, and I love what Meyer did in creating the wolves. She did take certain creative liberties in adding to the existing mythology of the Quileute people, but that is what authors do. The idea of the 'cold ones' is not an actual part of the Quileute people, but rather Meyer's own invention. Members of the tribe phase into wolves to protect the tribe against the 'cold ones.' 

And so, Stephenie Meyer created Jacob Black, who at first she had not intended would play such a pivotal role in her novels. However, in writing New Moon, she realized that Jacob Black needed to be a greater character than she's originally intended. That is why New Moon is my favorite of all the novels. I love when Edward goes away for a long time and we get to see more of Jacob as he slowly begins to embrace the destiny that his Quileute origins require of him. 

Twilight readers all have different reasons for loving (or hating) the novels. This is my reason. The Quileute mythology and what Stephenie Meyer added to it is what sucked me in about the Twilight books. 

(wolf headdress-Quileute artwork)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Gale or Peeta

In this blog post, I answer the age-old question- Gale or Peeta? In Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games books, Katniss Everdeen must choose between these two young men. It's not an easy choice as they're both honorable young men with good qualities. My answer: Date Gale, but marry Peeta.

Gale is the kind of guy you might want to date, but not the kind of guy you want to marry. He's good for some adventures when you're young and looking for adventure. However, once you're past the stage of adventure-seeking and ready to settle down, Gale is not your guy.

Peeta, on the other hand, is totally your guy. He's the one you can count on when you really need him. When you're pregnant and hungry all the time, Peeta will make you some yummy baked goods. Peeta is the kind of guy who will walk the floors with a crying baby in the middle of the night. Gale wouldn't be around in the middle of the night. He'd be off on some adventure. Peeta would be there though. He'd take the baby and rock her to sleep while you got some shut-eye.

Sure, Gale is good with snares and insignificant things like that, but Peeta is good in the kitchen. So, girls, remember when you're faced with such a dilemma, here is your answer. Date Gale. Marry Peeta.