PRINCETON — Brianna Boes loves the power of story.
It’s the foundation of her professional life as an author and freelance editor. It weaves through her personal life as she raises children who are already writing their own stories and as she dives into books, movies, and television for fun. It's a source of representation, and she's proud to be connected to work that utilizes story.
Boes, who grew up in Gibson County and graduated from Princeton Community High School, released her first novel in February. “Mother of Rebellion” is an epic fantasy set on the continent of Leyumin with a cast of five main characters: a slave-wife, a warrior, a guardian of history, a disciple, and a young nobleman.
“I think through story you can come to a place where you can represent who you are and what you believe and things that are important to you,” she said. “But in a way that doesn’t bash somebody over the head.”
Boes said story can be a beautiful tool to allow people to come together and celebrate differences.
“We live in a world where everybody is screaming about something,” Boes said. “I think that they’re usually just screaming into an echo chamber or it’s usually just the people who agree with you that are listening. Or the people that don’t agree with you are just yelling back their own talking points.”
Story reveals the humanity in all different types of people in a non-invasive, enjoyable way, she said.
In “Mother of Rebellion,” and the projected five other books of the series, Boes focuses and plans to focus on relationships. Despite the sweeping geographical space of the story, she said it's personal.
There are character-centric, smaller stories that all come together and intertwine into the overarching story.
Boes also works to not write into stereotypes and to explore a variety of relationships.
Her work features a no-nonsense practical woman and a man who is pushed into his role as an alpha male, among others. The relationships featured are between parent and child, siblings, and even grandparent and grandchild.
“I think romance is a necessary part of life, but it’s not necessarily centric to my stories,” she said. “It is in there, but I try to portray realistic relationships and a variety of relationships.”
Boes has always enjoyed writing, but she didn’t see it as a practical career choice. She got back into it after having both of her children and looking to reconnect with herself. Now living in Missouri, her husband encouraged her to go out and find something just for her.
Boes said publishing has changed a lot in recent years and there are more options for authors. She created her own publishing company, Beyond Here Publishing, which she is putting out her series under. In the future, she’d like to be able to publish other people’s work as well.
As for the genre, it's one Boes has always enjoyed.
“I did enjoy it whenever I was young,” she said. “I started off really enjoying sci-fi television and movies. Then I started moving into books. Now it’s my favorite genre.”
Boes said the genre can be hard for people to dive into. They may not be used to large-scale stories or could get hung up on the made-up words that are often used in fantasy.
“Epic fantasy is kind of an intimidating genre, for both readers and writers,” she said. “It’s not always light reading.”
Some people may not even realize they enjoy the genre, but she said films like those that feature the Marvel Universe are in the fantasy realm.
“People love those, but don’t always categorize it,” Boes said.
Since its release, “Mother of Rebellion” has found fans who are familiar with the genre, as well as those who are just discovering sci-fi and fantasy.
Boes has met some people who have read it and enjoyed it, but she’s not quite used to being approached.
“It’s been cool, but just really weird,” she said. “It’s encouraging, I’ve found my characters in my stories evoke emotions and that comes through when people talk to me and that makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.”