What inspired me to write The Sambac Crystal and The Stolen Kingdom

I have a new book called The Sambac Crystal and The Stolen Kingdom.  This endeavor has been a huge undertaking, and has been very challenging for me.  No one knows why I wanted to write high fantasy either.  I’m a fan of the genre, but had no plan to write in it.
So, why did I go from writing military and crime thriller to writing high fantasy? My daughter came up with a story idea while we were roasting marshmallows at a bonfire and wanted me to make it into a book. I told her “one day.”  That’s my answer when I’m not sure if I’ll do something or not.  It’s not a flat out no, but its unlikely to happen.  At least not any time soon.
After I finished the last novella in my Warden Series, I was looking through my story plot ideas to see what I’d write next. She was persistent that I write her idea into a book every time I mentioned starting a new project.  After a few days of her asking, I decided to look into it.  I thumbed through the notes I took, and started developing a plot line.
It didn’t feel right though. Something was off. Her main hero was a guy. That’s not weird in itself. The main characters in my last series were all men. But there were no girls in her story.  Not even a Queen to go with the King.  I tried changing some of her ideas around and tweaking elements in the story, but it turned into something vastly different from her original idea.  Then I just had to know why.  I asked her why were there no girls, and she wasn’t sure.  To me, it felt like she assumed girls were in the background of most stories.  She’s just now discovering chapter books, so she hasn’t read that many stories yet.
I asked her if she wanted a girl hero. She said okay…  She sounded unsure of the idea.  I asked, “What if you’re the main hero?” She said something to the effect of, “I dunno… Maybe not.” I told her right then and there that I changed the main character into a big sister, just like her. And that big sister would have her name.  Why not, it was her idea in the first place.
She was still unconvinced until I let her read a few pages of the final draft.  Now, she wants to read the book and take it to school and show it to all of her friends. She wants to be the main character for Halloween.  I wrote it to be commercially marketable and to appeal to a general audience of all ages, so it may be a bit too mature for her because of the fight scenes.  But she wants to read it anyways.
Don’t worry, there are strong leads of both genders and I believe it to be a great story that will provide a captivating read.  I write with a bit of realism, and when a Kingdom is under attack, I believe people of all ages and both sexes would step up to take lead roles.  I’m not propping one gender up over the other, just giving them both a fair chance to free Calevallin from the evil sorcerer!  I am a Marine Corps Veteran, and an Iraq War Vet, and know that men do the fighting.  But having experienced a real war, I know that both sexes suffer and die during one.
At the end of the day, if no one ever likes the book, I’m fine with that. I know one person who will.  I wrote a book for my daughter with a girl hero she can look up to, and I made her the main character.  I’ll also do the same for my other kids when they are old enough to have story ideas of their own.
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