This week, our own A. M. Freeman is publishing her first stand-alone book! While not overtly Christian–it has aspects to it, only hinted at because of Spoilers!–that make it a stronger and more surprising story than might first be expected, aspects that are reminiscent of Christian themes in all the right ways.
It is the kind of story you might want to share with a child to keep them on the narrow path. Here she talks about the book and its inspirations:
I would consider Marymae and the Nightmare Man my most superversive story to date. Why? Because it’s about a little girl who refuses to give up hope.
It’s a children’s book, but it’s not without its moments of trial or even despair. Books like the Wizard of Oz or the Narnia Chronicles can be enjoyed by readers young and old, because they have a wonder and truth to them that is ageless. And that is something I hoped to capture with this book.
Our heroine of the story is Marymae – a little girl with a bit of sass and a lot of heart. Her world view is simple – be nice because being mean makes people sad and stop anyone that makes the people you love sad. It’s this kind of straightforwardness and fierce determination to protect the ones she loves that makes her a daunting foe to the powerful Nightmare Man.
She is able to charge forward and help those who feel lost in the darkness. But Marymae is still only a little girl. She has her own fears and insecurities. She isn’t superhuman. She doesn’t have super strength. She can’t fight in the battles the same way the pirates can. She can’t go and force the Nightmare Man into submission. She has her moments of despair. She is only a little girl. But she has one thing that makes her the one that is able to lead the charge and conquer the darkness.
Unwavering faith that good will triumph over evil.
Marymae is not the strongest or the best. She has to rely on those around her for a lot of things. But when her friends are feeling scared or weak, that is where Marymae shines. She inspires them to hang onto hope, and through her perseverance in faith, they can accomplish anything!
The story also has a wonderful redemption arch – which I don’t want to give away. I will say that it surprised me as I was writing the story! I didn’t expect it, but I believe it adds another layer to the superversiness of it all, and really shows how far love can go.
The other big theme throughout the book is the darkness VS light. The Nightmare Man has his own ideas about how things should be. He has his own reasons why he spreads his darkness. Marymae doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but she can’t stand to see anyone get hurt – especially her little sister. She has no tolerance for meany-heads, as she calls them. However, she has plenty of room for compassion and forgiveness.
Marymae is honestly my favorite of my characters. She’s so much fun, so simple and yet so full of life and adventure! My favoritism may also have to do with the fact that when I wrote the story, my little sister was 4. From there I got a lot of inspiration both for the character herself, and Marymae’s devotion to her own sister.
The writing in the story was meant to be a little vague and a bit mystical. Like in a dream, where random things happen, but that don’t need an explanation to make sense. I wanted to leave things open to the reader’s imagination. Like old fairy tales, I didn’t want to bog it down with too many details. I believe I succeeded in that, and hope it adds to the wonder of the story.
I hope my humble little story can be a refreshing light in your day. A reminder of the simple yet mighty power of faith. And that it will give you a good laugh – for it is silly in many ways! I also hope that parents can enjoy this with their children. The joys of reading together never end, and so I want to offer this story as one you and your children read and bond over time and time again.
Marymae and the Nightmare Man is fresh off the press! So go pick up a copy for yourself and for your family. May you never give up hope, always remember, good will triumph!