When I was in high school I did not have a lot of friends and was bullied a lot so I buried myself into writing. Each day I would go into the library at lunch time and pull out a cheap little notebook from my bag and a pen and sit down at one of the tables to furiously scribble down my stories. I would also sneakily write in class. I got away with it, too! The teacher usually assumed I was writing notes or something. It was harder to try and read romance novels under my desk or the latest Star Wars book though. That took some craftiness.
It was around that time that I also discovered how much the internet could help me with my writing. I discovered my first writing message board - Inkspot! Ah, Inkspot. How I loved it. It was like an internet tree house for me. I found friends on there and mentors and learned so much about writing and publishing.
One of my first novels was called The Secret World. I didn't realize it at the time but I was writing about myself. When I think back on SW now I find it hilarious and at the same time incredibly sad the symbolism in it. It was about a brown haired, shy, bookish young girl who was unpopular at school but against all odds catches the eye of the popular, but down to earth, handsome guy!
The girl, Claudia, is a writer of course and had bedroom is covered in posters (like someone else I knew) and was writing a book! She had no friends so would write at lunch time at school. Her book comes alive and she and Michael, the boy, get sucked inside and become her characters. They get stuck in a medieval world full of characters that know they are fictional and that their very existence depends on Claudia continuing to write about them so they try to keep her there!
When I look between the lines I see a story about me. Claudia is lonely, artistic and lacking in friends. She is a writer like me. She does what I never did and finds a boyfriend at school and through her writing becomes special and needed and important and the center of attention.
There was one character in the Secret World that I loved to death and that was Forest Wind. She was the original Echo. She was beautiful, strong, and tall with black skin and long, bright green hair and matching green eyes. I was entranced with the idea of a black woman with green hair. I thought it sounded beautiful and exotic. Forest Wind was called that because she could run as fast as the wind. Her feet would pound against the ground so lightly, so swiftly, you could not hear her footsteps. Her hair would whip in the air around her head and shoulders like a lick of green flame and her body would be a blurred streak she was so fast when she ran!
Forest Wind was apart of a tribe of beautiful female warriors who lived in the very creatively titled "Golden Forest" that was a walled forest of tall, wide trees with gold leaves and thick, entangled branches that made up a network that Forest Wind's people built their houses on and jumped and ran across to get around.
Echo is the new Forest Wind. The two characters are very similar. They are both beautiful black women with green hair and eyes who climb and jump from trees. There is a lot of Forest Wind in Echo. She is beauty to me. She is strength. She is mystery. I love it that she is on the front cover of Echoes in the Wind. In a way it has brought Forest Wind alive as well.