Christian Warrior Academy

Feb.2, 2019

The Spiritual Journey of The Gryphon's Handmaiden

 

 

"She could go anywhere. The whole world was before her now, and she didn't have to fear her curse anymore. She was free, but she continually felt a weight pulling her down. When she tried to run away from it, she kept bringing it with her."

- The Gyphon's Handmaiden

 

The Inspiration to Write my Books, Especially The Gryphon's Handmaiden

Each book has a different inspiration. Gryphendale, my first book, began life as a grown-up fairy tale. After my mother died of brain cancer and my son was born extremely premature (23 weeks), the book became a way for me to deal with life and death. The main characters ask the creator God, the blue Gryphon, why do bad things happen to good people. It's surprisingly optimistic considering how dark those time were for me. Humor peaks its head through the quirky characters, and I learned to laugh my way through difficulty because of them. The world of Gryphendale was also heavily influenced by Scottish folklore since all of this happened while I was living in Scotland.

My second book and the first of a trilogy, The Shadow of the Gryphon, has twin princes named after my twins who passed away soon after being born. The main character, Arthur is a retired Brownie adventurer who helps the princes on their adventure. I based it off of some of the adults in my life who want to retire from living, but it as has strong influences of my grandfather, who I adored in my childhood. It takes place in a swampy land that reminds me of growing up in Florida. This book also has humor and fun peeking through the lines just because life is ridiculous at times. I found myself dealing with so many memories of my childhood and learning to let go of the past just like my main characters.

The newest book coming out, The Gryphon's Handmaiden, is the sequel to The Shadow of the Gryphon. In this book, I have a main character, Tabatha, who has a significant disability, mutism caused by trauma. I had debated in making her autistic, but it made the story too complicated. I wanted to encourage my son that no disability can keep you from pursuing your dream. This is part of my message as an author. I've been very involved in the special needs community and often seen children told what they can't do. A person may have to work harder because of a disability, but there is always a way to find your path in life. I too have had to work through my dyslexia to be a writer. God uses everyone, not in spite of their disability, but with it.

 

The Message in My Work

I write optimistic stories. I am a fan of fantasy, but sometimes fantasy can get dark and depressing. I often hear about teens dealing with anxiety, depression, and even suicide. What I want people to get from my stories is that there is always hope no matter how dark things get. I try to create people who are complex and not perfect, yet things can work out even when they aren't "good enough." A hero isn't someone who is more talented and special than anyone else. A hero is the person who doesn't give up. Hope and perseverance is the message in all my books.

Working with kids as a mom, Sunday School teacher, or in volenteer possitions always helps my creativity and motivation. They see the world in a new light, and everything is exciting and full of energy. It's cruel how the world tries to steal that from children with messages that everything is out of control and falling apart. By the time they become teenagers, many of them become jaded and hopeless. God is always in control, even when we can't see it.

Young adults say the most unique observations which are often very accurate in their own way. It helps me look at the world differently like a stranger in a foreign land. Adults often like the same thing as children with more mature language and a little blindness from their experiences. Young adults straddle the line between childhood and adulthood, trying to understand the difference. A good story engages everyone and helps everyone visualize what they could be with a little, faith, hope, and courage.

The world of the imagination is magical, and I encourage authors to look at the world like a child asking tons of irrelevant questions. You won't ever run out of ideas!

 

The Challenges I Faced when Writing this Book

I struggle with dyslexia, so the editing process of my books takes a great deal of time. I mostly struggle with spelling which computer spelling checkers help. I often have to run a grammar checker to check for missing articles since I read in chunks and struggle to see those mistakes. Grammarly is a great help, but it isn't perfect. I have learned some tricks to help my eyes to isolate what I want to proof, but it is very slow. I really have to thank my beta readers and editors for helping with those issues.

Along with the practical side of dealing with dyslexia, there is an emotional struggle. I wasn't encouraged to write when I was young and failed every spelling test I took. Many people would wonder why I still choose to write. It's because I have to. I am a natural storyteller and have been telling my own made-up fairy tale since I was a small child. I remember even forcing my younger brother and cousins to act out the adventures I invented for them.

It is hard to publish a book when you know that your greatest struggle is being exposed to the world. Can God use me even as I am? YES! This is the message of The Gryphon's Handmaiden, and it is a struggle that is very real every day to me. God often chooses the weak to teach the strong.

 

"I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness."

- Isaiah 42:6-7

 

The Gryphon's Handmaiden comes out January 29th on Amazon!

 

You can find out more:

www.laraswanderings.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/Gryphendale/

www.twitter.com/Gryphendale

www.goodreads.com/author/show/13773505.Lara_Lee

www.amazon.com/author/laralee

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