and “unremarkable”, the world doesn‟t necessarily offer up multiple love triangles of hot boys. I‟m interested in telling it like it is. And it‟s not pretty, but it‟s hopefully, real. When I was young, I felt desperately sad and angry and powerless because I couldn‟t say or do anything about the terrible things that happen to women in the world. But writing has given me a forum to express the kind of “feminism” I believe in, and to express my outrage at the things that are done to women, and to take a small stand against the standard fictional female heroine that girls are often presented with. I try to write in such a way that my reader is almost forced to walk in the heroine‟s shoes. For the most part I favour the first person, present tense, to enable the reader to feel a growing sense of unease exactly when the heroine does; to feel a sense of empathy and immediacy and solidarity; to hope for her, and want for her, the things you would want for yourself: warmth, love, safe harbour. And why all the “paranormal”? How is that “real”? Well, my view is that injecting an element of the paranormal into my storylines sets ourhumanity in stark relief. Something that Michael Ende himself does in The Neverending Story. I can explore what it means to be human: to love, to grieve, to feel and react, against a backdrop of unease, or otherworldliness. I can test the boundaries of my characters‟ humanity and strengths against the unknown. And we, as readers, love paranormal storylines. We want to believe in the extraordinary, and that the extraordinary is possible, and that magic is still alive and exists in the world. It makes the act of living bearable to think that there could be “something else” besides us out there. It‟s why The Neverending Story spoke to me so strongly all those years ago: heroes can make mistakes, slight girls can rule empires, every single creature in creation — no matter their shape, colour or species — has a part to play in the story, making the world that much richer. ©Rebecca Lim March 2015 Rebecca Lim is a writer and illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia. She worked as a commercial lawyer for several years before leaving to write full time. Rebecca is the author of sixteen books for children and young adult readers, most recently The Astrologer’s Daughter (Text Publishing). Her novels have been translated into German, French, Turkish, Portuguese and Polish. The Astrologer’s Daughter has just been shortlisted in the YA category of the 2014 Aurealis Awards and long-listed for the 2015 Gold Inky Award. Find out more at: www.textpublishing.com.au/books/theastrologer-s-daughter An extract from The Astrologer’s Daughter follows.