Author Guest Post

Behind the Book: Fate of Flames and the Magical Girl Trope

November 29, 2016
Sarah Raughley
Author of Fate of Flames

Hey guys!

I’m back to talk about Fate of Flames, which has now been released (or unleashed?) into the world! Mainly, I want to go through some of my inspirations for the book. But to do that, I first have to talk about The magical girl trope. The magical girl trope is just what it sounds like. It’s a trope that appears in different genres and stories where the protagonists are usually girls with magic powers. There are typically three types of magical girls:

  1. Cute magical witches
  2. Magical ‘idol’ singers who use their powers selfishly at first
  3. Magical warriors

My first ever idea was actually a mix between 1 and 3. I came up with it when I was around 5 years old before I ever watched any of the stuff I’m about to talk about, so it tells you how prevalent this trope is. I guess because I always wanted to be a little kid with powers, it was natural for me to write about them. It’s no wonder that I immediately latched on to the below as my biggest inspirations behind The Effigies Series! Some of these names might mean something to geeky kids out there like me, and if you don’t know them, let me introduce you to a whole new world of inspiration!

Sailor Moon

Great reads for teens

When people think of magical girl warriors, they often think of Sailor Moon. Same with me. I watched this show when I was ten and even though I was kind of embarrassed by some of the dubbing, transformation sequences and filler storylines, seeing these girls with enormous power and cosmic-level battles was just really awesome. The Effigies really answers the question of what would it be like if the Sailor Scouts had to operate without secrecy in the public eye in the contemporary world of social media. I couldn’t resist the idea! Actually, when I was around 12, I made up my own crew of masked girl vigilantes. I think some of the Fate of Flames characters derived in part from some of those characters.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Great teen books

I loved this show immediately, not just because of the snappy writing, awesome fight scenes and Angel, who was totally hot. I just loved the idea of there being a group of teenagers who were doing these amazing things at school while nobody really knew or appreciated them for it. I liked the idea of a select group battling these larger cosmic problems. And of course, the heroine, who has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Interestingly, Fate of Flames subverts the trope of the ‘select crew saving the world without anybody knowing,’ since the Effigies are pretty much celebrities. But there’s so many dimensions to what they do that the public doesn’t know about. So in a way, it still feels like a select club.

Final Fantasy X-2

Great Books for Teens

Let me not lie, I never really liked this game. It’s a spin-off of Final Fantasy X, a JRPG. The purist in me really wasn’t here for spin-offs in a series that was supposed to have no spin-offs by design. But the opening sequence, which shows Rikku and Yuna from Final Fantasy X (plus a gloomy friend) in some bizarre, but kind of awesome new get-ups punching out guys twice their size to a catchy j-pop song was really too awesome for me to forget. I mean don’t get me wrong, it was cheesy as hell and I’m cringing even just thinking about it…But still kind of cool? How typical of a JRPG to conflict me so. In fact, if I were to put a playlist together for Fate of Flames, it would have cheesy J-pop music in it.


All this stuff and more informed the kind of stories I wanted to tell. I am so excited to reveal Fate of Flames to you guys, and to continue the tradition of stories that prioritize awesome magical girls! Things get even crazier in the second volume, so stay tuned for the madness!

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