A-Muse-ment: The Inspiration Behind Manifesting Destiny
M Pepper Langlinais
Like many writers, I birthed Manifesting Destiny by braiding together a couple different things in my life. For the first strand of the braid, we have to go back a bit to when my oldest son, now ten, was just about three years old. He had seen Sleeping Beauty (the Disney animated film), and it had made more of an impression on him than I’d realized. One afternoon as I was getting frustrated with him over something, he cried, “Don’t let your dragon come out!”
It took me some minutes to understand he thought I, like Maleficent, was going to transform into a fire-breathing beast. After getting over my shock, I rushed to assure him that would not happen. But years later, after his little sister and brother were born, my oldest would tell them that I’m secretly a dragon.
So there’s one thread.
The second strand comes from a flash fiction piece I wrote via a blog prompt called “Secret Admirer.” That piece established Cee and Marcus as high school friends, and that Marcus had “someone else” inside him. I always knew I wanted to do more with that story, but I let it marinate as I continued with other projects.
The time became right when a couple of things happened. 1. I joined a writing group and needed a project to work on and submit for regular meetings. 2. My kids were finally at an age where I wanted to maybe write something they could read and enjoy. This perfect storm is what brought me back to those two strands and got me braiding. (Yes, braids take three strands, but you get my meaning.)
While looking for something to write, I opened the old flash fiction piece. And I thought about the now ongoing family joke that I’m a dragon. And the elements came together. Manifesting Destiny is the result.
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M Pepper Langlinais
65K, Evernight Teen Publishing
Sixteen-year-old Cee has a hopeless crush on her best friend Marcus. Unfortunately for her, he’s gay. In the wake of Marcus’s older brother leaving home to join the Aerie, Marcus has become increasingly distant. When Cee discovers she has a troublesome dragon named Livian living inside her things grow even more complicated.
Marcus urges Cee to go to the Magi to have Livian removed, but the more Cee becomes attached to Livian, the more she questions the decision. Should she change her natural self for the crush who will never love her anyway?
Heat spread through her. Cee’s face elongated, her arms extended, her nails formed into claws, and her feet became suddenly very heavy. The bony spires erupted from her shoulders, and Cee was compelled to double over to allow the wings to grow.
Throughout, Cee fought the urge to resist, though her instinct was to do just that. She wondered what she looked like, caught a glimpse of red scales, and realized her eyesight had become sharper. All the details of the trees around her impressed themselves upon her brain: the cracks and flakes in the bark, the saw-tooth edges of the leaves, and every little spot and insect thereupon.
How big was she? Cee realized she was at eye level with the middle of the trees. She looked down and saw her friends pushing themselves even harder against the trunks, making way for Cee’s—or Livian’s, she supposed—tail as it snaked by.
Yes, we’re very pretty, said Livian impatiently. But we don’t have time for showing off just now.
The massive wings began to move, slowly at first, gathering speed that put the force of the helicopter’s artificial wind to shame. Cee realized she had no control over what was happening. It was all Livian, and she was housed inside him, somehow, along for the ride.
It was equal parts thrilling and petrifying, bursting through the treetops and being free of gravity. Cee would have liked to spend more time experiencing it, but there was the helicopter, like a massive black bug, and Livian went right for it.
About the author:
M Pepper Langlinais is an award-winning screenwriter, produced playwright, and author. Her latest novel CHANGERS: MANIFESTING DESTINY, first in a new YA fantasy trilogy, is now available from Evernight Teen.
M holds a Master of Arts in Writing, Literature and Publishing and a Bachelor of Science in Radio-Television-Film. She has a love of Shakespeare, having both performed and taught his work, and has also interned on Hollywood film sets. M worked for Houghton Mifflin and Pearson before deciding to devote her full time to writing (and occasionally parenting). She lives in Livermore, California with her family, cat, and hamster. Find out more about her and her books at PepperWords.com.
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