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Former Canning resident releases debut young adult novel

Former Canning resident Faith Boughan holds a copy of her first published young adult novel, CINDERELLA, NECROMANCER.
Former Canning resident Faith Boughan holds a copy of her first published young adult novel, CINDERELLA, NECROMANCER.

CANNING - An Ontario-based author celebrating the release of her debut young adult novel believes her Grade 5 teacher from Glooscap Elementary School deserves part of the credit.

“I was a very, very, very shy child, and I spent much of my time in my imagination - either with the books I was reading or the stories I was making up. In our classroom, there was a bank of Apple computers against the wall, and I would spend as much time as I could sitting there writing stories, poems, plays - anything that came to mind. I got so into it that I think one day I missed the bell for recess and just kept writing,” said Boughan, in a recent e-mail to Kings County News.

“I'm not sure whether I asked to stay in that day, or if Mr. White just saw me writing and let it go, but from then on, almost every recess I'd ask if I could stay inside and write. I don't think he ever said no!”

Boughan fondly remembers that teacher, John White, reading stories she’d make up on her own, and pieces she wrote in collaboration with a friend.

“He'd ask us about our stories, and he'd read our work whenever we were excited about it. I don't recall a lot of specifics, but I do know that his encouragement was definitely a springboard for my confidence,” the 34-year-old said.

“It was because of his belief in me, even at that young age, that I realized the dream of being an author didn't just have to be a dream. If I put the work in, I really could do it.”

Boughan is now a full-time writer living in Brantford, Ont. with her husband, cat, bunny and “rather needy sun conure parrot.”

Her debut young adult novel, dubbed CINDERELLA, NECROMANCER, was released through Month9Books Sept. 5. She dedicated it to the two teachers who offered the most support in her formative writing years, one being Mr. White.

The story was partly inspired by a 15th-century grimoire text from medieval Germany called FORBIDDEN RITES: A NECROMANCER'S MANUAL OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY.

“This text is a bit of a historical wonder, because the practice of necromancy was anathema, totally forbidden, and any magic book discovered during this period would have been immediately destroyed. It's incredible it survived, but little historical scholarship has gone into its study,” said Boughan.

The idea to somehow mesh this grimoire text with a retelling of Cinderella’s story came to Boughan as what she describes as a “shower thought.”

“I was thinking about heroines in fairy tales and wondering what might happen if no one came to save them… if there was no fairy godmother, if the prince wasn't going to rescue them, and how they'd use their own strength and knowledge to change their circumstances,” she said.

She felt compelled to explore this concept through the young adult genre.

“Teens are at that age when the maturity kicks in to be able to make serious decisions and tackle tough issues, but because of that, there's also this sense of endless possibility, which tends to be reflected in YA stories.”

The end result is a dark twist on a familiar fable.

“I absolutely love the original Grimm and Perrault versions of the Cinderella fairy tale and the animated Disney classic, so I tried to pay tribute to both as best I could. However, my book leans much more toward the dark, grim classics than talking mice. It's been described as having the aesthetic of gothic literature, but I did try to pepper in some small details that folks who love the well-known versions of the story would recognize,” she said.

“Ultimately, there is no fairy godmother here, and Cinderella has to save herself. It's not an easy road, and she'll make mistakes, but I think that's a part of growing up, a part of being a teenager. Sometimes you do the wrong thing for the right reasons, and have to learn how to manage the consequences.”

Asked if there’s a character in the book that is a lot like the author, Boughan said she tends to steer clear of this practice, but the main character’s best friend comes to mind.

“Her friend is a girl who doesn't particularly love parties, but attends for the people-watching and for the food. That's 100% me! ‘Will there be dessert? I'm there!’” 

CINDERELLA, NECROMANCER is available for order through most major book retailers, in stores and online.


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