NING CAI’S MAGICIENNE: WHEN A GAWKY GIRL TRANSFORMS INTO AN INTERESTING YOUNG WOMAN, THAT’S MAGIC
NOTE: My new YA novel coming out later this year is MAGICIENNE, published by Marshall Cavendish. I created this story with Ning Cai, multi-award-winning magician and entertainment personality. She contributed this guest post about our collaboration. You might say our book is about how a girl who grows up in the wrong part of town evolves into an amazing heroine. Here’s a new interview with Ning below, she talks about how learning magic changed her life and gave her a lovely new way to connect with people. Do look out for our book. — D
NING CAI SAYS …
JUST LIKE YOU, THE MAIN CHARACTER IN THIS BOOK IS A MAGIC PERFORMER. HOW DOES A TEENAGE GIRL GET DRAWN TO LEARNING MAGIC?
Magic has always been a childhood hobby that didn’t go away, and to be honest with you, I was a painfully shy kid who didn’t feel special at all! I was awkward and gangly, far from a social butterfly with the natural charm or gift of gab; I didn’t have the shiny cool gadgets or expensive toys as my family wasn’t affluent and I had to work at the school bookshop during the holidays; neither did I do well in school because no one realized I was dyslexic! But I loved writing and getting lost in magical worlds every time I read a book, and magic was something that when mastered and performed well, always served as an excellent ice-breaker!
After coming second-runner up in a nationwide magic competition many years ago, my self-confidence shot up like never before and I had an epiphany. True magic isn’t in the tricks. It’s in you. It has always been. And shortly after that, I was performing at local charity events like for Make A Wish foundation, Sharity Elephant, Children’s Cancer Foundation and more. Because magic transcends all sorts of boundaries like age, culture, gender, language, it can be easily appreciated by people from all walks of life. Making other people happy brought great joy to me, especially when it’s a genuine smile or laugh from a young child suffering from cancer. It’s like you have a power, for just that moment, to gift happiness to others. So, why not?
FOR THE TEENAGE CHARACTER IN MAGICIENNE, HOW DOES LEARNING MAGIC SHAPE HER IDENTITY?
As a wallflower who has yet to realize her life’s journey and unique fate, magic helped her find the exceptional path she was meant to take. Magic isn’t her entire life; there is so much more to her, but it is absolutely a gift that she has used to her advantage. Through learning new skills and performing them, she was able to become more creative, get out of her shell, make new friends, and find herself along the way. It also gave her that magic ingredient, the much needed self-confidence in dealing with difficult situations and bad people. While she understands that she is only human, she allows herself to face the monsters and deal with her vulnerability, metamorphosing into the interesting young woman she was destined to become.
Magic was also a creative outlet, that hobby she could escape into. Time flies when you are enjoying yourself, when you’re learning something fun and new. Magic as a philosophy makes you look at the world with different perspectives; always follow the other hand and avoid being misdirected! More importantly, there are ethics in magic — with great powers come great responsibility, but there are several people out there who abuse their powers for no good! Despite her trust issues at first, our brave young heroine in MAGICENNE fixes all that. ;)
HOW IS PERFORMING MAGIC SIMILAR TO WRITING FICTION?
Both magic and fiction are about the clever suspension of disbelief. However, the paradox is that the more logical and real it seems, the more magical and amazing it would be to your audience and readers! Like good writing, good magic is original, has a strong plot, with points of tension and release, a riveting climax, and it should get people invested. It’s all about the emotional connection, not about your ego!