Adventures of Hirapis

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All contents © 2011
by Lori Ann Curley
Narnia map   My influences for Hirapis are many and varied: Narnia, Middle Earth, the Galaxy, Hogwarts, Klah, Myst, and Ptolus. All of these creations involve a world where anything can happen and usually does. As a child, I dreamt of entering my own magical world as a way to escape from the loneliness of real life. As an adult, this fantasy needed to become tangible as my real life was not what I wanted in terms of career and goals. Thus Hirapis became the world in which I really wanted to live. The world needed to include magic, because magic is an integral part of fantasy worlds. But my husband and I both are technophiles, so I wanted Hirapis to include many of the technologies I love and rely on every day. The hardest part was integrating the two aspects of the world in a way that's logical to the discerning reader. I didn't want to use the common medieval/renaissance setting employed in many fantasy books, so I utilized the American Victorian Era as the basis for my setting. This would dovetail nicely with the desire to include technology in Hirapis.
    Another aspect of the Hirapis series that I wanted to accentuate is the concept of gray characters. In many of the Spirebooks that influenced me, most of the characters are either distinctly good or distinctly evil. Only J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books has any real gray characters: Severus Snape in the fourth book, Harry in the fifth book, and Albus Dumbledore in the seventh book. In the Hirapis series, I wanted my characters to have many shades of gray so the reader cannot always tell who is good and who is bad. Frequently the characters are both good and bad, as are people in the real world. We are all human and have our flaws, and that's what I wanted to bring out in the characters of Hirapis. I also shied away from an entire species as being either good or evil. Individuals needed to be differentiated to add more depth, more gray, to the story.
    The Cats (Felifornians) in Hirapis are not taken from George Orwell or the Star Trek cartoon (in fact, I never bobcatread Animal Farm nor have I ever watched the animated Star Trek series); they come from ancient Egyptian mythology, the drawings of Diana Harlan Stein, and my own love of cats. I studied the various species, especially lions and bobcats (my favorite outside of the domestic breeds), and incorporated many of their traits into my world. Of course they are anthropomorphized, but that was needed to create the characters. Many aspects of the world, how technology and magic are used, were derived from how these cats behave.
    I knew from the beginning that making my lead character a female would relegate my books not only to children's literature, but to the narrower scope of girls' literature. I knew this would limit the success of the series, but I also knew that females of all ages needed a heroine they could genuinely appreciate. My greatest departure from all of the above mentioned worlds is that my central character is a girl who comes of age in two vastly different worlds. By the end of the series, she must choose in which world to live forever.