Secret of the Laurel Crown
What do Hermione Granger, Lara Croft and Carolyn from Secret of the Laurel Crown all have in common? They are powerful lead characters who fight evil and stand for strong young women everywhere.
Former family counselor and pastor for more than 20 years Andrea MacVicar writes the fantasy adventure novel, The Secret of the Laurel Crown, demonstrating that young women can break free from stereotypes.
"It was always the 'good guys' who win the day over the 'bad guys,' while the girls in the background were the romantic but weak 'damsels in distress,'" MacVicar recalls about the adventure stories she read as a child. "I wanted to write a book where the opposite proved true."
Influenced by her childhood favorites - Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings and A Wrinkle in Time - MacVicar has added elements of danger, right versus wrong, and love into her novel.
The story follows Carolyn and her older brother Jimmy as they are transported to the strange world of the Double Suns where things aren't as wonderful as they first appear. To save her brother and her new friends, Carolyn must unlock the secret of the Laurel Crown, and discovers what is most important to her along the way.
"Carolyn the defeated becomes Carolyn the victorious when she learns from the Laurel Crown, love conquers all things," MacVicar says. "As pieces of a puzzle fit together, the elements of the story complete a beautiful picture of hope and sacrifice, love and restoration, mystery and reward."
Andrea MacVicar attended Wayne State University, University of Michigan and Marygrove College. She was licensed and ordained in 1984 through Kingsway Fellowship International, and earned her doctorate from Kingsway Christian College and Theological Seminary. She is a founding member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and was president of Rejoice Christian School of Ministry for two years. A pastor for more than 20 years now, MacVicar has also served as a family counselor, was publisher and editor of the Equipment Newsletter, and authored Tales of Zoftic.
Secret of the Laurel Crown
Author: Andrea MacVicar
Interview with Andrea MacVicar
Question: What inspired you to write Secret of the Laurel Crown?
Andrea MacVicar: I won a writing scholarship to a summer program in the late 70s. Because I loved books I decided I wanted to "try" writing one. I didn't know what kind and starting looking for characters and plot ideas. In 1981 I completed a puzzle of a photo of a ballerina in a flowing, pink chiffon costume in an arabesque position. As I wondered who she might be, I named her Gazellia (fleet as a gazelle). I thought she might make a great central character for my book. I jotted down some notes and plot ideas. By 20 years later, I had rewritten SLC countless times and submitted it to publishers who returned it with the same countless rejections. In the meantime, I earned a doctorate, became a pastor, counselor, article writer, seminar and conference teacher, and college president. In 2003, I wrote another book,Tales of Zoftic-the story of a black labrador. The success of Zoftic encouraged me to look again at SLC. I studied the craft of writing by attending conferences, reading books on writing, and asking female friends and their teenagers to comment on my book. Gazellia led me to Carolyn and her brother Jimmy. In adding them to my story, the theme of my book, "love conquers all things," deepened and grew into a fast paced, inspirational, adventure-fantasy novel.
Question: Why did you ensure Secret of the Laurel Crown had a powerful female lead characters?
Andrea MacVicar: My young life was influenced by books like, Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Cherry Ames Nurse series, and the Nancy Drew Mysteries, but the science-fiction-adventure-fantasy books, comics, and movies of my youth always seemed to have a male as a main character warrior-hero.
A fun part of my childhood was going to the Saturday afternoon movies. In many of the films I watched, it was the good guys who won the day over the bad guys, while the women were the romantic but weak "damsels in distress" in the background. Indeed the female stars were beautiful and glamorous, but needed to be rescued by the powerful, strong male leads. Fortunately in our culture today, young adult girls have more opportunities to break out of the old stereotypic ideas based on "a woman's place is walking three steps behind a man" by the encouragement from female role models, education, and the media-print and otherwise.
SLC presents a thirteen-year-old girl who fights a giant named Gog, battles evil and wins. Yet, she has all of the emotions and struggles of any girl who must battle to overcome her fears and guilt as well. All of the characters, including Jimmy, Carolyn's older brother, also make decisions based on their strengths-whether they are to be used for good or evil.
Question: What is the best thing about creating a character like Carolyn?
Andrea MacVicar: Satisfaction. Writing about her struggles to overcome rejection, fear, guilt, and impoverished circumstances to rise undefeated by them, and then to become a triumphant, courageous person, gave me great pleasure and satisfaction.
Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?
Andrea MacVicar: Except for the elemental details of the fantasy, all of it. As a minister and counselor for twenty plus years, I have observed, interacted, and been trained to hear the human heart condition and react to it. In addition, my life experiences have sharpened my point of view about people. Since being a very "real people" myself, I'm able to project onto the page the dialogue and action readers can relate to.
Question: When you wrote Secret of the Laurel Crown what audience did you have in mind?
Andrea MacVicar: Women, teens, young adults. Anyone who would enjoy an adventure, mystery novel.
Interview by Brooke Hunter