I originally wanted to do this post around the time that JK Rowling released this cryptic tweet related to her upcoming work that my man was trying to solve (spoiler alert: It’s been solved). Unfortunately this got saved into my drafts and was basically never seen again until I thought of it yesterday. Yesterday was my birthday and I started thinking about how far I’ve come as a writer. It always comes back to JK Rowling, since she was a primary influence on me when I was young. I credit her for starting that drive to write, after I got into Harry Potter when I was younger.
I was one of the kids who grew up with Harry. I was about the same age Harry was in the books and with each book that came out, we grew up a little more together. I was an ecstatic fan of the movies, even if they weren’t quite as faithful to the books as I wanted them to be. I’m lucky to find just as eager of a Harry Potter fan in my better half. Whenever that cryptic tweet was a current thing, my man and I had gone through all eight Harry Potter movies again, which is pretty much a common custom between us. Before that, we had two old internet friends visit and meet up for the first time and they’re just as much of Potterheads as we are (they also went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, a feat we haven’t done yet despite living in the general area). Rowling’s Boy Who Lived and the whole Harry Potter world has been very much a part of my life since I was introduced to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the young age of eleven. It was shortly after discovering the books that I discovered I liked to write…and the rest is history.
Well, that’s not giving Rowling enough credit, really. Her world opened me up to a universe where anything was possible. Where magic was commonplace. I was an avid bookworm as a kid (I remember getting in trouble for reading the Animorphs series in class, instead of paying attention). I loved reading about magic. Harry Potter was the world that really stuck, and as each of the seven books came out, I grasped onto the world tighter and tighter. There’s a part of me that is convinced that the reason why I never got my acceptance letter to Hogwarts is because my owl must have gotten lost (don’t tell that part otherwise, shhh!).
There were two major influences for the Second Realm: the first three books of KA Applegate’s Everworld series (never caught up on it beyond the first three books, unfortunately, but tracking down the rest sounds like fun) and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The Everworld series opened my eyes to the possibility of an alternate universe that coincided with our own…but it was mister Harry Potter that really opened me up to magic. Out of that came Moonriver Academy for the Supernaturally Gifted. Early on, before the Second Realm was what it is now, Moonriver was meant to serve as grounds for a very high school drama type story that ended up merging into Dante’s story arch in Shadow Assassins. I think there were notes of influence from the House of Night series, in terms of a magical school, but I never got beyond the second or third book in that series (another series I’ve put on my forever-long “to read” list). Moonriver was meant to have a larger story appearance than what it got in Shadow Assassins, but for the life of me, I can’t do high school drama stories after high school anymore.
This may be my inner overzealous fangirl speaking, but I wish there was a proper way to thank JK Rowling for her influence. I’m sure I’m not the only person who got a jump start in writing from the tale of The Boy Who Lived, but for an adolescent, younger me, that kind of influence had a major part in my life. Part of me hopes that whatever work I do can inspire someone else like that, even if it’s just to pick up a pen. The journey to the Second Realm started with a small eleven year old boy with broken glasses and a lightning bolt shaped scar. Maybe one day I can branch out into young adult fiction and pass on a story that will leave that sort of legacy. Maybe the Second Realm has that sort of story in it. All I know is that I have to keep writing. The drive is too strong and there is real magic in this world, in the power of words.