Debut author subverts “good girl” trope in dark YA fantasy series
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – What if you were told from the moment you were born that you were evil? Debut author Victory Witherkeigh creates a thrilling YA story that subverts expectations and finds that your true self is more important than what you’ve been told. Breaking through the good girl, virginal heroine stereotypes and inspired by Filipino mythology and gods, “The Girl,” (Cinnabar Moth Publishing, Dec 6, 2022) will blur the line between what is good and what is evil.
Already a finalist for Killer Nashville’s Claymore Award in 2020, The Girl follows a nameless main character only known as The Girl. She’s been told since a very young age that she was a mistake, a demon who shouldn’t have been born. Shunned by her parents, she’s shuffled between her parents’ and grandparents’ homes until her eighteenth birthday. The Girl is baffled by her ordinary life in Los Angeles. For all intents and purposes, she’s just like everyone else. That is, until the Demon comes to claim her.
Striving to bring more diversity to her story, Victory employs her Filipina/Pacific Islander heritage by combining pre-colonial myths of gods and demons and a modern setting creating the unique coming-of-age story of a first generation-born American. Victory Witherkeigh is able to connect her story with thousands of young first-generation American readers looking to see themselves in modern-day fantasy stories.
By developing a character that flits between human and demon, Victory creates an anti-heroine, a female character who isn’t your typical Mary Sue archetype. Resisting the urge to create another “golden” hero character in a fantasy story, The Girl examines the gray areas of growing up as a young female navigating through rejection, lost friendships, hurt relationships, and choosing imperfection.
For fans of The Sandman series and Wicked Fox, The Girl is an unlikely coming-of-age story filled with the search for identity, understanding parent expectations, and realizing that sometimes evil isn’t what you expect it to be.
Victory Witherkeigh | December 6th, 2022
Cinnabar Moth Publishing | YA dark fantasy
Hardcover | 9781953971616 | $23.99
Paperback | 9781953971609 | $15.99
Ebook | 9781953971623 | $4.99
VICTORY WITHERKEIGH: Victory Witherkeigh is a female Filipino/PI author originally from Los Angeles, CA, currently living in the Las Vegas area. Victory was a finalist for Wingless Dreamer’s 2020 Overcoming Fear Short Story award and a 2021 winner of the Two Sisters Writing and Publishing Short Story Contest. She has print publications in the horror anthologies Supernatural Drabbles of Dread through Macabre Ladies Publishing, Bodies Full of Burning through Sliced Up Press, and In Filth It Shall Be Found through OutCast Press. Written during NaNoWriMo, Victory’s first novel, set to debut in December 2022 with Cinnabar Moth Publishing, has been a finalist for Killer Nashville’s 2020 Claymore Award, a 2020 Cinnamon Press Literature Award Honoree, and long-listed in the 2021 Voyage YA Book Pitch Contest. Find out more about her at: https://teikitu.com/
Photo credit: Kat Goodloe
In an interview, Victory can discuss:
- The Filipino mythology that inspired her writing process
- Her thoughts on the stereotypical “golden” girl heroine and how she subverts that
- Resisting the idea that all female characters must be likable and good from the start
- Her process writing an anti-heroine
- The importance of stories about claiming agency for young female readers
- The importance of diversity among characters, especially within niche genres
- Writing her book through National Novel Writing Month
An Interview with Victory Witherkeigh
Can you talk about the initial inspiration for this book? Did it come from any sort of myth or folklore?
This book was inspired by some of the pre-colonial myths and legends from the Philippines and French Polynesia that I grew up hearing.
What originally got you into the genre of dark fantasy? DId you write in any other genres before finding your love for this one?
I was a very nerdy kid growing up – reading R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike to Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I’ve tried writing in high fantasy but the darkness always seemed to come very easily.
The first draft of this novel came from NaNoWriMo, right? Could you talk about that experience?
When I first started dabbling with the idea of being a writer, I began with short stories. Once those began to get picked up, I decided to use NaNoWriMo to see if I could get this book out of me. I will say it flowed a lot faster than I thought it would.
What did your writing process look like?
I’m a night owl, so I find that I need to put my errands and gym time all to the morning. I tend to give myself time bounds – write for 20-30 minutes at a time to see how much my mind is willing to go into. I always shoot for at least 100 words a day.
Who is this book for? What people would you most recommend it to?
I would say this book is for the teenage girls like myself who never felt like they were truly squeaky clean enough to be the heroine or not quite attractive enough to be the anti-hero. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy reading about the grayness in the coming of age stories – the fact that the journey itself is messy, turbulent, and terrifying.
The main character of this book is considered an “unlikeable female character.” How did you go about creating the girl?
The girl almost wrote herself with just some of the trials and tribulations one witnesses in grade school and high school amongst young women. I remember trying to read The Babysitters’ Club books and not being able to get past the first few chapters because it seemed too unrealistic that that many young women could be friends given that at that time the growing cliques were dividing my classroom.
What part of The Girl was the most fun to write?
Without spoiling too much, I would say any of the traveling chapters were probably my favorite. All the real world places mentioned in The Girl are trips I had taken myself as a young child through my teenage years and it was so much fun to revisit those historic sites and cities.
A former award-winning journalist with national exposure, Marissa now oversees the day-to-day operation of the Books Forward author branding and book marketing firm, along with our indie publishing support sister company Books Fluent.
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