LOCAL writer Verena Boodoosingh is best known for her children’s books, The Adventures of Ana and her Magic Dogs—My Country Trinidad & Tobago and The Lost Flying Fish. But her upcoming release is a departure from children’s literature.
Boodoosingh’s first young adult sci-fantasy, The Circle Armor, which is the first of a trilogy, follows three protagonists of an advanced civilisation. The story also explores the moral complexity of mankind’s duality.
It is no surprise that Boodoosingh decided to delve into the complex yet exciting world of science fiction and write her first sci-fantasy novel. Out of all the book genres available, science fiction and fantasy best describe her.
The writer and entrepreneur, who is a fan of Anne Rice novels, grew up watching Star Trek and Star Wars with her father and younger sister. She is also heavily influenced by writers the likes of JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and GRR Martin, whose works have been turned into blockbusters on the small and big screen.
The Circle Armor has not only allowed Boodoosingh to express her creativity in her preferred genre, it has also given her a safe place to address controversial topics such as racism and gender inequality.
“Using the characters and the fantasy setting to highlight these issues seemed more manageable than saying it in a realistic scenario,” she says. “The science fiction and fantasy genre also helps the audience digest these complex emotional topics in our society and ponder upon them without being criticised or forming any polarisation.”
Creating an imaginary world
It took Boodoosingh two and a half years to write the novel which has 37 chapters. Developing an imaginary world with its own history, geology and ecology is essential to any good science fiction and fantasy novel, but it is not necessarily easy to do.
“It was a learning curve for me. To deliver a satisfying novel for my audience, I had to fully understand the mechanism of this genre. Developing structures such as world-building—a vital element in sci-fantasy—also took some time to construct,” she says.
Boodoosingh admits that in the beginning, she doubted herself and had to work on her confidence. But once she crossed that hurdle, her thoughts and imagination began to flow.
“My research and story ideas evolved into a good plot and just like that, everything came together,” she says.
Major historical events have always inspired the creation of literature, music, film and art. The Covid-19 pandemic and the changes that have resulted stirred up emotions within Boodoosingh and inspired her to write some moving dialogues in the book. The racial injustice protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd also triggered ideas for a few scenes in The Circle Armor.
Boodoosingh was initially frustrated that it took her longer than expected to complete the book.
“Looking back now, I think it was a blessing in disguise to have finished the book in these uncertain times. Being stuck at home, worrying about my family, loved ones and the nation made me really think about my existence and my purpose in this world and appreciate the truly important things life has to offer,” she says.
The Circle Armor will be launched on Amazon in September. Boodoosingh is already working on books two and three of her trilogy series. She has not given up on children’s literature, she hopes to write a few more children’s books in the future.
The Circle Armor not only engages the imagination, it also carries an underlying message of hope. Despite the odds, even the underdogs can triumph and overcome society’s limitations, says the writer.
“I want to remind people that our belief is our magic system,” says Boodoosingh. “Once you believe that you can do anything, that pushes the mind to achieve the unbelievable.”