The Ceruleans: On courage
Who’s your hero/heroine? Who most inspires you? Whoever you’re thinking of, I bet one of the reasons you admire that person is their courage. They’re been through hard times and come out the other side stronger – and faced with adversity, they stand tall and resolute.
When my young-adult series The Ceruleans was still a tangled web of ideas keeping me awake at night, the word courage kept pushing through. Whatever I ended up writing, I knew that was the most important theme.
Sometimes, courage means taking big, dramatic action. Like Scarlett, the protagonist, taking to the ocean on a surfboard though the sea recently claimed her sister. Like Luke, a local surfer, running into the sea to save a strange girl.
Sometimes, courage means taking little steps. Like Scarlett climbing up a clifftop folly despite her fear of falling. Like Luke kissing her, though he’s afraid to give his heart.
Sometimes, courage means opening up. Like Scarlett sharing her discovery that her parents have been lying to her for months. Like Luke sharing his memories of the night his parents died while he looked on, powerless.
Sometimes, courage means keeping quiet. Like Scarlett keeping to herself a series of unexplainable phenomena – hands glowing with light, power. Like Luke carrying alone the burden of truth about the dark, stormy night Scarlett’s sister drowned.
Always, courage means carrying on. Whatever happens in the story, in the face of death, betrayal, wrenching separation – those who have courage pick themselves up and carry on despite the pain and the fear.
Courage can be loud or quiet; out there or hidden; grand or simple – but in any shape or form, to me it’s beautiful. Which is how I came to write scenes like this one in Death Wish:
‘You cry if you need to cry,’ Luke murmured, his breath warm on my ear. ‘And I’ll just sit here and tell you… I want to kiss you, Scarlett Blake. I’ve wanted to kiss you since that first day on the beach, when I pulled you out of the water. You were so lost and bedraggled but determined to prove you were fine. And I knew you weren’t fine, but your courage…’
I jerked at the word.
‘Your courage,’ he breathed into my ear, ‘that day – every day; it’s beautiful. I know you don’t see it, but I do. It’s all I see when I look at you. You’re the bravest, strongest person I’ve ever met.’ I began shaking my head, but he shushed me. ‘You’re crying, remember, and I’m telling you how I feel. And you’d better let me, because I’m not half as brave as you, Scarlett, and if I don’t get this out now, I may never say it…’
The philosopher Plato said it best: ‘Courage is a kind of salvation.’
About Megan Tayte
Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. ‘Write, Megan,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.
Thirty-odd years later, Megan writes the kinds of books she loves to read: young-adult paranormal romance fiction. Young adult, because it’s the time of life that most embodies freedom and discovery and first love. Paranormal, because she’s always believed that there are more things in heaven and on earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. And romance, because she’s a misty-eyed dreamer who lives for those ‘life is so breathtakingly beautiful’ moments.
Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in Robin Hood’s county, Nottingham. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a paleontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.
About Death Wish
Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense.
Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to the isolated cove of Twycombe, Devon, with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need.
As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power.
What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death.
To believe the impossible.