ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN DE MODE NOVEMBER 2023 VOL VI. ISSUE XXXVII | LITERATURE
Article Published on: 13TH JAN 2024 | www.demodemagazine.com
"TAWNY AND CREE" - BY AUTHOR Z.D. BOXALL
Tawny & Cree: Beasts of Dropull and Schinas Saga. Tawny & Cree follows the story of Tawny, who has been trusted into an adventure featuring giant beasts and life-threatening circumstances and Cree, an outcast among the minotaurs whom destiny has chosen, even if he refuses. It is a story of action, adventure, and fantasy, involving lovable characters who are treading water in the ocean of trials that they face. Tawny is a young, Australian girl of tiny stature who has always needed to be taken care of by her older sister Tiffany. Tiffany is strong and at times, over-protective. Tiffany’s friend, Fanny, is all about having fun, but will soon need to learn to be serious if she wants to survive. The three human girls are joined by Cree, a black minotaur, a half man half bull creature who has hidden complexities behind his stern appearance. They are also joined by Solon, a minotaur who acts against his culture and decides to side with humans over his kind. The five of them will grow together as they face problems from both humans and minotaurs and learn more about this hidden world that has always been lurking.
In "Tawny & Cree: Beasts of Dropull," they confront a minotaur clan in Albania. In the sequel, "Tawny and Cree: Schinas Saga," they face the Italian Mafia and their own inner conflicts. Exciting and complex.
Z.D. Boxall's "Tawny and Cree: The Schinas Saga" is a concise yet captivating journey into a world of historical intrigue and the supernatural. In just 100 pages, Boxall expertly weaves a spellbinding narrative around two compelling protagonists, Tawny and Cree, whose lives become inextricably linked. The historical details are impeccably researched, immersing readers in a bygone era. Tawny and Cree's complex dynamic adds depth, and the touch of the supernatural infuses the story with mystery. This compact book leaves a lasting impression, and readers will eagerly anticipate further installments in the Schinas Saga. It's a must-read for those who appreciate a skillful fusion of history and the enigmatic.
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JOURNEY OF THE AUTHOR Z.D. BOXALL
Writing for Z.D. Boxall started with an interest in stories from a young age grew to include a keen interest in different mythologies from past cultures. His first attempt at writing started when he was fifteen, a year long project that taught him valuable lessons, the most important being that he can do it. Writing continued to be a hobby up until he turned twenty, when a friend asked him if he had decided to publish any of his work. This made him pause, most of his pieces were unfinished, barely out of the first few chapters, never having the motivation to keep pushing.
At that moment, Boxall decided to change that. He went home and began writing the first few pages of what would become his first self-published book Nukunu College (2018). He followed up this piece with his second self-published book The Diary of Vanessa Rocoso (2019). While Boxall was thrilled to be a published author, he wanted to push himself. His next goal was to be published traditionally. In the following two years, he was unable to create a piece that allowed him to achieve his goal. This talented author's determination goes beyond storytelling. Boxall's words are not just tales; they are vessels of imagination, empathy, and connection. As he continues to replenish those shelves with captivating narratives, he opens the door for readers to explore new worlds, grapple with complex characters, and escape the monotony of daily life. Zac Boxall's journey from those mundane moments in a university job to the realm of literary creativity is a journey worth celebrating. With each story he shares, he invites readers to join him in an adventure, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Boxall was studying at university and working a mundane part-time job that, if not for the stories in his head, would have surely made his brain go numb. Towards the end of 2020, as he placed another box of Weet-Bix on the shelf to be removed the next morning, in a cycle Sisyphus would relate to, another story kept his brain from going numb. That story turned into Tawny & Cree: Beasts of Dropull (2021) and helped Boxall achieve his goal. He followed up with the sequel Tawny and Cree: The Schinas Saga (2023), with his goal to continue to publish more of those stories that allowed him to put another box of Weet-Bix on the shelf.
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW OF AUTHOR Z.D. BOXALL WITH DE MODE
Q: Your books, "Tawny and Cree: The Schinas Saga" and "Tawny and Cree: The Beasts of Dropull," explore themes of adventure, danger, and the darker sides of life. What draws you to these themes in your writing?
A. I’m drawn to the gritty reality that comes with adventure. Not everything that can be discovered is going to be beautiful, somethings are hidden for a reason and that makes the adventure more interesting. Once discovered, the character has to reinterpret the world, knowing a dark secret that most people do not.
Q: Your belief in the importance of character development is evident in your work. Could you share more about what character means to you as a writer, and how you approach creating relatable characters?
A. The character is what the reader attaches to, it’s the car that takes you on the journey of the story. If the readers don’t care about the character, then they will simply stop and get out. To create relatable characters, I dedicate time to focus on them, most characters can be relatable if they are given the time to develop.
Q: "Tawny and Cree: The Schinas Saga" revolves around the concept of freedom and escaping Albania. What inspired you to delve into this topic, and what do you hope readers take away from the story?
A. I was interested in the concept of what freedom costs. Most young adult stories that focus on freedom tend not to explore this aspect because it ruins the utopia if there are consequences to gaining freedom, but there are. Not that freedom is bad, but that there are always consequences for gaining it, both good and bad.
Q: In "The Schinas Saga," we see your characters facing the Italian Mafia and the challenges of a Minotaur Clan. How did you come up with these complex challenges for your characters, and what role do they play in the narrative?
A. I wanted to show more of the conflict between the minotaurs and the humans, to explore that dynamic. They would obviously be enemies, but if there was a way for them to form an alliance, then I thought that would be an interesting problem to achieve.
Q: "Tawny and Cree: The Beasts of Dropull" introduces us to a world of minotaurs. What was your inspiration for creating this unique and captivating realm, and how does it enrich the story?
A. I have had an interest in different mythologies from a young age and the minotaur as a monster was always limited in the Greek stories, so I wanted to expand on it and give them more depth. It enriches the story by adding a whole new culture for Tawny and the group to face and deal with. The Beasts of Dropull" as she transitions from a position of innocence to being a protector.
Q: The blend of adventure and fantasy in your books is quite compelling. What were the key elements you wanted to emphasize when crafting the adventurous aspects of your stories?
A. The key elements was both action and culture. The action focus of a character like Cree adds to the level of danger the group encounters. The focus on culture shapes the narrative and the world, the cultural aspects of how minotaurs see humans and treat them, mixed in with the different perspectives of the different clans and hierarchies.
Q: What kind of research or world-building process did you undertake when creating the unique and vivid settings in your books, especially in the context of the minotaurs' world?
A. I utilised parts of the existing Greek mythology with new additions that I created. This isn’t an accurate retelling of the mythologies but uses them as a foundation that can support a unique narrative world. I also was deliberate in creating the history of the different types of minotuars, so that much like humans, each one is unique and complex.
Q: Being a French-Austrian transformative life-changer, speaker, and magic maker, what inspired you to transition from your personal transformation journey to guiding and empowering others on their journeys?
A. I must say that I didn’t choose that consciously. It was more that god was calling for me and offering to lead me into that journey of self-healing. Through that, more and more new possibilities and clients showed up, doctors wanted to work with me, healers invited me to gatherings and asked to work with them. And that is how this journey began.
Q: How do you approach character development & transformation throughout the story?
A. Character development is something that is deliberate and logical. I always have a reason for a character to grow because if there is no meaning to the change then the change is meaningless. For Tawny, she will have the opportunity to grow, but the transformation will take time as she learns what it means to be a protector.
Q: Can you give us a glimpse into your future writing projects? What adventures, themes, or characters can readers expect from you in the coming years?
A. Tawny and Cree’s story is not done and there is much more of the minotaur world to explore, including the white minotuars and the minotaur hunters. In addition to Tawny & Cree I have been working on other exciting projects, involving action and adventure stories including one that is set in a gothic world of suffering and violence.