Inspiration Story with Maria Atlan

January 22nd, 2021
We spoke to Maria Atlan, author of The Adventures of Harley and Lucy: The Marshland Rescue, all about her inspiration for the creation of this wonderful story.

From my earliest childhood memories, I can remember observing the world around me (this includes plants, animals, and everything in between) and giving these elements in my world unique personalities. These personalities would then turn into individual narratives, from which intersecting plots and stories would emerge.  At the time that these memories started forming my family and I were living in Panama.  A country so beautiful and full of exotic life that even the unimaginative are left enchanted.  So now envision the effect a place this captivating would have on a wildly imaginative young girl. It was also immensely helpful during these important developmental years that my father would read to me at bedtime. The places and characters in these stories would allow me to travel to far off lands and have fantastic adventures with new friends.  It was during this time spent with him and playing in the garden of our jungle home that both my imagination and love for books was cultivated and nourished. As I got older and we moved all over the world, it was these traits that eased my transition into the new and unknown.  I never knew loneliness nor boredom as long as my imagination came along (and thankfully it always did). So, for me giving plants, animals and whatever it may be a voice and a narrative is the most normal thing in the world, in fact I cannot imagine a world where the life around me does not have some sort of story to tell.

So being that I can imagine a story behind everything around me, what then becomes most important to me is the message being communicated.  Words have power.  They have the power to open or change your mind, they can turn into beliefs, beliefs that then can become actions. I take that responsibility very seriously.  I want my words to have a positive impact on my reader on two levels.  First how they feel about themselves and secondly how they see the world around them.  For example, in the Adventures of Harley and Lucy “The Marshland Rescue” the overarching theme is environmental protection and conservation. This is a topic that I am passionate about, but within the umbrella message of protecting our planet are the individual narratives of the characters.  Characters that like all of us sometimes have doubts and need encouragement and bolstering.  My overall goal is that when my reader closes their book, they feel love for themselves and the world around them.  

So now that you have a broad understanding of where my stories come from and what message they mean to impress upon the reader, let me give you some of the specifics about “The Marshland Rescue” that made writing this book a particularly moving and emotional experience. Roughly five years ago in 2016 I decided to move back to Panama. While living there I met and became friends with an amazing group of fellow kindred spirits.  Friends with whom despite having moved away, I have remained close with. In fact, while the mode of our conversation has changed from enjoying mountainside coffee together to texting, we all still speak to one another every day.  It was around the time that the idea for Harley and Lucy’s adventures was beginning to form, that our circle of friends suffered an unexpected and heartbreaking loss. Our sweet and brilliant friend Mamie passed away.  So, it was then that the idea to name the characters after all these wonderful people in my life came to me, every character you meet in this book is a friend.  And, more importantly in my own very small way Mamie continues to live, married to her sweetheart Greg, just as she was in life, and where the threat of losing her no longer exists. So, while all books are personal to their writers, “The Marshland Rescue” has taken on a more profound connection to my life and heart because of the characters in it and what they mean to me.  I hope you enjoy reading The Adventures of Harley and Lucy, as much as I loved writing it and come away from this reading adventure with a little more magic in your day.

The Adventures of Harley and Lucy: The Marshland Rescue

Harley, a retired military service dog, is starting a new life with the Lacey family, but when he arrives, he discovers he has a new sibling; a tiny, bushy tailed, tri-coloured cat called Lucy. Will the local developers’ plans to tear down the Old Ashley Place marshlands to build condos on unite the two? Can they settle their differences in time to save the marshland... and can cats and dogs ever become true friends?
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