Birth of Real Magik Trilogy
I thought I should talk a little bit about where the trilogy came from. At the time when the idea was born I was still working for Walt Disney Feature Animation. This was back in 2000. I'd been reading the Harry Potter series and finding it a bit juvenile for my tastes (well I was an adult reading children's lit for heaven's sake, what did I expect?). I was also watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and loving the irreverent style with which they addressed massive danger while still keeping it real and scary. Somewhere in my head I was thinking though, yeah but all these things have one thing in common, the heroes are all pretty decent looking. None of them looked like I did as a kid and still did as an adult: big boned, zaftig, plump, chunky, curvy, fat.
I was also nervous as a kid, to the point of panic sometimes. You never saw that in those shows or books. I was insecure and had melt downs. Yeah all of this maybe made me a freaky kid growing up and I'm a different a adult now, but I also thought that freaky kids are human kids. There are lots of them out there and a heroine with those traits could speak to them. Voila, Fred was born.
I also had a Nina in my childhood who got me through the bumps. So it was easy to come up with her character.
From there I came up with the over arcing story line for the three books and broke it down into each book so that they hooked together like nesting dolls, each building to the next.
From the story came the other characters although I have to say that Oedipus came directly after Fred and Nina. He was clear as day and just as feisty from the second he bloomed in my brain. He was always Fred's introduction to the world of Magik and he was always rude about it.
So I started writing about 2000 in bits and pieces, usually on a pad of paper clipped to my animation desk. Whenever I had a notion or a sentence I'd take a second to write it down. Probably not Kosher by Disney's standards of working, but I did get my work done despite my little breaks.
Then on the weekends I'd work in my office at my apartment for hours at a time, forgetting to eat frequently. I wound up with a 300 page manuscript that was still incomplete and still growing when I stopped in 2003. Walt Disney Feature Animation had virtually closed its doors on traditional animation and I left to take up freelance illustration, a career that took up all of my time. I shelved the book for ten years.
When my illustration work began to dwindle in a waning economy during 2012. I found I had time to work on the book again. I took it down and started again, editing a great deal to trim excess material, getting the thing down to 300 pages total instead of 300 to start.
The whole thing was completed in April 2013. I painted a cover for it myself and posted it on Facebook and started planning for publishing it myself on Amazon Kindle. The cover got a LOT of attention on FB. I was stunned. Many independent publishers really liked it and wanted to know what the story was about and did I have a publisher yet? Suddenly I had an independent publisher reading my manuscript and then I had a contract in front of me. Now I have a book about to be in print and a trilogy about to see the light of day.
It's been a long journey from 1999 to 2013 but satisfying. I hope that readers accept Fred and her friends warmly and that they appeal to some kids who aren't Harry Potters or Buffys. We can't all be heroic and pretty. Some of us just manage to do our best in the face of danger and look OK instead of fabulous but go on anyway and that's its own kind of heroism.