Author Diane Magras’ on her journey from a child recreating the work of other writers to weaving her own stories

Author Diane Magras Photo courtesy of Diane Magras

Growing up, Freeport author Diane Magras’ favorite pastime was recreating adventure stories her father read to her. She found she connected more to fiction by telling it from her perspective as a child. Today, Magras tells stories in her own words. She is about to publish her third book, an action-packed fantasy adventure, “Secret of the Shadow Beasts”.

“I wanted to write a fantasy adventure,” she said. “My first two books are about historical adventures, and I wanted to add some magic.”

Secret of the Shadow Beasts focuses on children at the center of a contemporary fantasy world, Brannland, where shadow monsters, umbrae, emerge and decimate human beings at night. Only certain children, like the protagonist, Nora Kemp, are immune to shadow venom. However, this immunity fades as they get older, so these children are trained from an early age to fight monsters.

Secret of the Shadow Beasts cover photo by Vivienne To-Photo courtesy of Diane Magras

Kemp encountered the Shadows when he was 12 years old. After seeing the threat face to face, she decided to fight against the Shadow Beasts as her immunity increased her chances of survival.

“In December 2019, I came up with the idea for the protagonist, Nora Kemp, a girl who grew up in rural poverty on a sheep farm and became the central character who helps defeat monsters,” he said. she declared. “Once I had Nora in my mind, it turned into a story of empowerment for kids as the pieces came together.

“As I went through the edits and revisions, I wanted to model a world where children were respected for who they were and could decide who they were,” Magras added. “So in this book, I have a very diverse cast, ethnic, racial, and LGBTQ+ characters playing important roles. I also wanted to celebrate gaming because gaming is one of those places where kids can be themselves, and that ended up being fundamental for my protagonist because it plays such a huge role in his life.

With her debut novel, “The Mad Wolf’s Daughter,” making her a New York Times Editors’ Choice award-winning author, Maine Library Association Lupine Award recipient, and Maine Student Book Award nominee, Magras hopes “The Secret of the Shadow Beasts” will have a similar impact on readers.

“I want kids to walk away knowing that every child can be a hero,” she said. “I’d like to sell as many as I can, honestly. We’ll have to wait and see how it goes. I’d like it to be a New York Times bestseller. I think it’s every author’s dream.

Magras’ third book will be published June 14 by Penguin Young Readers.

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