Youth fiction has a new protector

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Sipping an iced beverage at a local coffee shop, 18-year-old Grant MacEwan student Rebecca Bourque is modest in telling how her four-year long journey to becoming a published author unfolded. The Morinville resident has recently published The Protectors, the first of a three-book fantasy series she has written.

“I’ve always been really interested in reading,” Bourque said of her love of the printed word, a love that has caused her to enter a Bachelor of Arts program in English at the Edmonton university she attends. “I read James Paterson’s Maximum Ride series and after I finished the third book in the series … I was sure that if I was going to be remembered for something, I wanted to be remembered for telling stories.”

Bourque’s book is set in a world where all children are born with a suppressed spark that either comes to life or remains dormant as the grow. Those whose powers develop are taken away to a castle where they are trained to become protectors.

“It follows the story of these four young, young protectors, the youngest being 11 years old, just out of basic training,” Bourque said, adding the four are charged with watching over a young princess. “The queen’s brother is jealous because she got the throne because the crown is passed to the eldest.”

As the story unfolds, the brother stages an uprising and takes over the kingdom and sets off in pursuit of the young princess and her protectors.

With a bounty on their head and an enemy in pursuit, the protectors must not only look after their young charge but somehow regain the kingdom.

Four-year project

Bourque said the process of writing The Protectors and the two as-yet unpublished sequels took four years. She began the first novel at the age of 14. Although the books were written concurrently, she was editing the final draft of the first novel right up until it was sent to press.

“I wanted a book to give young people a place to escape into, a place to relate to, a life that just wasn’t mundane,” the young author said. “I knew that my main characters were going to be young people.”

From there The Protectors, like so many books, started with that first paragraph. “It was a hunter and he had a picture of them,” she recalls. “It was a grainy paragraph and it was from the hunter’s point of view. He was after these children. From there the characters started to develop.”

Bourque said as the work progressed the characters in the story became like real people to her. “Then it seemed like it was their story and I was just telling it,” she recalls. “That’s all I really wanted to do with publishing the book is tell stories.”

Controlling her own show

The author has chosen to self publish her novel. Although she had strong interest and an offer from an e-publisher, Bourque said she wanted to see her first novel published as a traditional book and declined the company’s offer.

Using popular self-publishing platform LuLu, Bourque designed and produced her own work, and now has copies for sale.

“I decided I wanted to do it myself and just got it done,” she said, adding she had a special moment when she opened the shipment. “I was ecstatic. It still seems sort of surreal after all these years of working with just the computer and printing it off, and just having it in a binder. To have it bound and with a cover; it’s so surreal.”

Although the book has only been out a short time, Bourque said she has had contact from people who have read the book, some strangers, some family.

“I didn’t know my cousin had read it,” she said. “He came and sat down next to me at a wedding and just started gushing about my book. I kind of was sitting there thinking, ‘Wow. This is my story, but he is relating to it. He started telling me how he could relate to this character. It was awesome. The feeling of actually having a book and having people reading it is surreal.”

Bourque said she is currently promoting the book through her blog and social media sites. The book is available locally at Higher Grounds Espresso Bar, and the young author has already arranged a book signing at the St. Albert Chapters in October.

She will be adding to her marketing game through an upcoming photo shoot that will be used for posters and other media promotion.

Above: Author Rebecca Bourque sits with her first novel – The Protectors. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

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