Meet the Apocalypsies #4: Laurisa White Reyes

Today I’m joined by debut author and member of The Apocalypsies, Laurisa White Reyes.  Laurisa is the author of The Rock of Ivanore, book one in the new middle grade fantasy series The Celestine Chronicles, due out in May 2012. Laurisa lives in Southern California with her husband and five children. Publishing her first novel is a life-long dream come true.  Here’s the blurb for The Rock of Ivanore:

The annual Great Quest is about to be announced in Quendel, a task that will determine the future of Marcus and the other boys from the village who are coming of age. The wizard Zyll commands them to find the Rock of Ivanore, but he doesn’t tell them what the Rock is exactly or where it can be found. Marcus must reach deep within himself to develop new powers of magic and find the strength to survive the wild lands and fierce enemies he encounters as he searches for the illusive Rock. If he succeeds, he will live a life of honor; if he fails, he will live a life of menial labor in shame. With more twists and turns than a labyrinth, and a story in which nothing is at it seems, this tale of deception and discovery keeps readers in suspense until the end.

Now, it’s over to Laurisa to tell you about magic, impossible feats, and how The Rock of Ivanore came to be.  Thanks Laurisa for your wonderful post.

“Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, you can make anything happen.” – JohannWolfgang Von Goethe

I love magic. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a big fan of Harry Potter, Bartimaeus, and Eragon. As a kid, I devoured The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and The Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis. I watched the Disney fairytales a hundred times over because for Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid magic always saved the day.

Magic’s Long History

Magic has been around for as long as human kind has existed. Ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians used rites and rituals to gain the favor of their Gods who in turn used their magical powers to intervene in human affairs.

During the late middle ages, people were often fascinated by magic, but they feared it, too. Joan of Arc (1412-1431) was accused of being a witch and burned at the stake. In 1692-1693 in Salem, Massachussetts, 200 people were accused of practicing magic, or what they called witchcraft. Twenty were executed.

Magic eventually became a form of entertainment. In the early twentieth century, Harry Houdini captured the world’s attention with his death-defying escapes and feats of magic. Today magic is as popular as ever with live stage shows, movies and television, and books attracting audiences all over the world.

Why We Love Magic

Why this ongoing fascination with magic? Could it be that deep down in the human psyche we long for the ability to change the world around us, to manipulate things to our liking? We want to defeat evil, to beat the odds, to overcome seemingly impossible challenges. Magic enables us to reach beyond the mundane and even negative aspects of our lives and to visualize what could be.

When Harry Potter, an otherwise average boy, destroys the ultimate evil villain Voldemort, we can imagine destroying whatever bad things are in our lives. When Eragon flies on his dragon across the mountains of Alagaesia, we are, in a sense, flying with him, achieving the impossible.

Magic is, of course, not real. As much as we love it, none of us will cast spells or tame dragons. But magic does allow us to dream and to discover ways to achieve the impossible that are within our means.

Reaching Beyond the Possible

On October 31, 2003 thirteen-year-old Bethany Hamilton was attacked by a 15 foot shark while surfing off the coast of Kauai in Hawaii. Bethany lost her left arm and, many believed, her future as a professional surfer. But Bethany did what seemed impossible: she taught herself to surf again with one arm and returned to the world of competitive surfing. Her story was made famous in a book and the recent film Soul Surfer.

Bethany’s courage and determination are not unusual. These are the very traits that have motivated individuals throughout history to achieve the impossible.

At the turn of the twentieth century, flying was nothing but a dream, something magical that had only been explored in fiction novels. Man could not fly. Everyone who had tried had failed. But Orville and Wilbur Wright dreamed big. They reached beyond human limitations and did the impossible. They flew.

How The Rock of Ivanore Came To Be

For me, writing and publishing my first novel was an act of achieving the impossible. Six years ago, my son and I often read stories together at bedtime. One night, he asked me to make up a story instead. I told him a story about Marcus, an enchanter’s apprentice who was a failure at magic. Every time he tried to cast a spell, it backfired. Each night, I’d ask my son what he wanted to hear about, be it dragons, or magic, or sword fighting, and I’d weave those elements into the story. Over the course of time, Marcus learned how to master his abilities to do what he never thought he could do before.

I have always wanted to be an author, but although I spent many years writing for newspapers and magazines, I thought I could never publish a book. Like Marcus, I was afraid that if I tried, I would fail. But telling those stories to my son gave me courage. I spent a year writing the first draft of The Rock of Ivanore. I received dozens of rejections and there were times I almost gave up.  But instead, I kept telling myself, “If someone else has done it, I can do it, too.” Eventually, Tanglewood Press offered me a contract and my dream of being a published author became real.

Aim High. Dream Big.

So what can magic do for you? It might propel you to climb Mount Everest or discover the cure to cancer or invent something that’s never existed before. It might motivate you to master a musical instrument, to paint a masterpiece, or win the next big football game. Or it might help you become the next New York Times bestselling author. Remember, magic is really nothing more than reaching beyond the possible to achieve the impossible. And in that case, there is at least a little magic in all of us.

Links:

My website  –  http://www.laurisawhitereyes.com

My blog – http://1000wrongs.blogspot.com

Joan of Arc – http://archive.joan-of-arc.org/joanofarc_short_biography.html

Bethany Hamilton – http://soulsurfer.com/

Harry Houdini – http://www.apl.org/history/houdini/biography.html

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Filed under authors, books, children, children's fiction, fantasy

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