Inspired, at least in part, by the Harry Potter stories, I’ve written ten books about Joy Andersen, a young woman who learns to be a sorcerer. Only four are currently available; I’m still editing the last six. (The joy of not actually working to a deadline!)
Besides Joy Andersen being a bit older (I get her through high school in the first book, college in the second, and the remainder over a short series of years), I was deliberately going after two specific differences from Harry Potter and its many imitators.
First, Joy Andersen does not discover a secret legacy of being born into a wizarding family, that her father was actually a Greek god, or any other things which equate to “surprise! you’re a superhero!” She discover a magical tome by accident, but after that, she has to learn everything through hard work. Even though she and her friends know that what they’re doing is magic, they call it the Sciences because they see in it the extension of scientific principles and experimentation. It’s rational and learnable.
The second difference is morality. In the Harry Potter books, morality is defined by Harry’s perspective. He may be tested a little, but basically, if Harry does something, it is morally justified. The line is black and white: Death Eaters, bad, Harry and Dumbledore’s Army, good. There’s no real space for a good person doing something bad and having to live with the consequences. So that’s something I wanted to address, too.
Anyway, I love the Harry Potter books, and I won’t make J.K. Rowling’s income in a hundred lifetimes, but I wanted to explore some of the same space in a different way. Hence, Joy Andersen.
The Book Not Yet Written (2010) – Joy and her high school friends discover the Alchemist’s Day Book and investigate magic as an extension of science.
The Oasis of Little Birds (2011) – Joy struggles in college to deal with relationships and a shadowy elitist club of sorcerers.
Joy Andersen and the Omphalos (2011) – Joy and her friends go on a mission for the CIA as billionaires with devious plots converge on Sicily.
The Three Hundred Bodhisattvas (2011) – Joy is called back to the CIA to deal with a threat to world civilization, which may have been her fault.
Stones of the Ten Plagues (2011) – Joy must deal with the potential disintegration of the Circle while she considers giving up the Sciences.
Secrets of Sighisoara Castle (2012) – While Joy is trying to pursue the love of her life, she finds herself blackmailed into helping a French gangster explore the Circle’s abandoned castle in search of a lost treasure.
Joy Andersen and the Witch Hunter (2012) – Joy is recruited by the CIA to solve the mysterious death of a Russian spy, while back in Cartonica she has to deal with a witch hunter who wants to expose her secret talents to the world.
The Expedition of Joy Andersen (2012) – Exiled and on the run, Joy decides to follow in the footsteps of William Warmall, whose memoirs fell into her hands. It turns out that the memoir contains a prophecy that might pertain to her, which promptly leads her to be cursed, perhaps fatally.
The Way of Plum Mountain (2012) – Joy is embroiled in a rivalry between different groups of wizards from all over the world, culminating in a secret competition. The winner can set the course of the world and it’s up to Joy to keep things from going wrong.
Joy Andersen and the Hollow Shell (2013) – Joy is dealing with the war between the Aeons and Plum Mountain, which appears to be leading up to a climactic battle. Along the way, she and her friends learn about a mysterious keystone which can determine the outcome of the battle.