Darcie Little Badger's YA debut landed on Time's list of Best Fantasy Books of All Time
Lipan Apache author Darcie Little Badger has written several short stories, comic books and essays, but in August she released her first young adult novel, Elatsoe.
The book follows Elatsoe — or Ellie — as she tries to solve the murder of her cousin. But she has a superpower helping her along the way — she can raise the ghosts of dead animals.
The critically acclaimed book has only been out for a few months, but it was included in Time Magazine's list of the 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time.
"At first I didn't quite believe it, I had to double check with my editor and other people to make sure that it wasn't somebody making a mistake," said Little Badger.
"I got to say, it's been really wonderful because my book has just been out a couple of months and the positive support that it's received in that amount of time has really blown me away."
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The idea for Elatsoe came to Little Badger when she was a teenager.
"I just wanted to write this ghost story about a house haunted by the ghost of a parrot, because I thought it would be cool if this ghost kind of resembled a person ... and then it became evident that it was a bird," said Little Badger.
"From there, I just started thinking about all the really interesting ways that animal ghosts might be able to have supernatural powers."
Originally Little Badger was going to write Elatsoe for an adult audience, but realized that writing it from the perspective of a teenager added another layer to the story.
"The most important part of it is Ellie's attempt to find justice in this world that's stacked against her, and the strength that she derives from her family, and from the knowledge that has been passed down through the generations," said Little Badger.
"This kind of empowers her to take down this powerful, wealthy individual, that's something that I think is important really right now for anyone, but especially for young adults."
For Little Badger, making her main character Lipan Apache was really important.
"There's actually many different types of Apache people, and that's something that not everyone knows," said Little Badger.
"Growing up, I would read hundreds of books. I was this quiet, shy kid … [and] books provided this beautiful escape for me, this way to just let go of all the problems of the world and be happy. And yet I never read about another Lipan Apache character."
In addition to her new novel, Little Badger also contributed to the Marvel's Voices: Indigenous Voices, writing a storyline for Dani Moonstar from the X-Men universe.
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"I had this call with the editor [of the book] and almost immediately I wrote this list of reasons why I should write Dani Moonstar," said Little Badger.
"I started really getting into X-Men in junior high, and she's really the one character who I think resonated with me strongly and has done so for almost two decades."
"I did also want to do the character right ... because she's been so important to me. I felt this big responsibility to portray her in a way that the fans of X-Men would enjoy."