The following is an excerpt from my friend Libby Heily’s new YA novel, Tough Girl.
The book in short:
Danger lurks everywhere in eleven year old Reggie’s world—from the bully next door to the unwanted attentions of a creep at school. Raised by her mentally ill mother, Reggie is left to fend for herself. She escapes in daydreams, battling aliens with her alter ego, Tough Girl.
When Reggie’s mother disappears, her fantasy life spirals out of control and starts to invade reality. She is hunted by a creature of her own design, and even Tough Girl is not strong enough to stop him.
Will Reggie survive long enough for her mother to return, or will her dream world take over?
The Art of Aliens
I remember when I was 8 I drew a picture of an alien. He was immense, too large for the page. His flesh was brown and lumpy and his eyes were wobbly. He had no mouth, and no arms or legs. My mom looked over my shoulder and said, “That’s not what aliens look like.”
I smirked at her. “How can you know for sure?”
She shrugged and said, “Fair point.”
Fast forward twenty some odd years later and I’m still making up aliens. Now, my aliens are more similar to humans, but I blame that on Star Trek and old age.
In Tough Girl, there are several alien species created by eleven year old Reggie. There’s the evil alien overlords, the Octhmuslans. This nasty bunch evolved from octopuses. They slide along on 6 tentacles and use the last 2 as arms.
The Octhmuslans regularly employ Klecks – graceful muscular creatures who love to party but are also skilled at torture.
There’s also Chihihaga, an insect like alien in charge of Planet Girth. He has a weakness for scotch and female humans.
And then there’s my favorite, the Bublaran – the life giver. This is a giant ball that does not speak. She communicates through pulsating light and creates life just by existing.
I created aliens because I was curious about other worlds. Reggie creates them as a means to escape her life. That leaves me to wonder how all the other creatures in the realm of sci-fi came into being, and if any of them found life in the fiction realm because someone asked, “How can you know for sure?”
*If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Tough Girl, you can contact Libby Heily at: firstname.lastname@example.org