Note, Mounira is a book 2 character and some character-spoilers (as opposed to key plot spoilers) exist below. They are NOT marked, however they should not affect your enjoyment of the book.
Her name is “Moo-Knee-Ra”, Mounira, and she’s from the Southern Kingdom of Augusto.
When I first told my mom about my idea of having a one armed eleven-year-old girl in my book, she asked me “Why are you going to do that?” I was glad she asked.
Adding Mounira as a girl who has her arm amputated shortly before the main story was one of two nods to real life in book 2. How many kids out there are in wheelchairs or have disability, or have a parent or someone close to them who has been injured serving their country? I didn’t want them to be invisible in my books.
Mounira was going to represent all those people who have an unexpected challenge that shatters their reality and stands up to it, and becomes something greater than they were. Having been through some horrific scar pain myself, I drew on that to help define Mounira’s path to become who she does.
Is she Muslim? Is she a foreign element?
No reader has asked, but given the way things are in the world today, and having given her a name that is from the “Arab world”, I wanted to call it out.
My heritage is Moroccan and British, though I’ve been pure Canadian since I was able to walk. I chose the name to honour my favorite aunt. Though I’ve only seen my aunt a handful of times, I have fond memories of her. Similarly, Franklin Charles David was my grandfather’s name, so there’s two family connections for me in book 2.
The name Mounira means “Illuminated Woman”, and the idea of catching the character in childhood on her way to being “illuminated” really appealed to me.
While religion exists in the world of The Yellow Hoods, there is no Christianity or Islam, so the simple answer to the question is NO. She does, however, represent an element of foreign culture? Absolutely.
She comes from, the “Southern Kingdoms” (which you’ll see in the map, is only southern relative to Inglea and Freland), which is a combination of Spanish and North African (Moroccan, Tunisian, Algerian) type of cultures. Her skin is darker, though I make a point of not saying how dark. As a racism vehicle, I’m able to combine some concepts of anti-Black, anti-Arab, anti-foreign towards into her being a “Southener”, showing that the world of The Yellow Hoods isn’t some strange utopia, but rather, it’s got its issues with equality, just not necessarily in the same areas that our world does.
Mounira also serves as a more innocent and trusting element to contrast with Tee’s evolution. In some ways, Mounira is moving into the place occupied by Tee in book 1, and in other ways, Mounira shows us how Tee would have been different had key events happened to her at a younger age or under slightly different circumstances.
Actually, Mounira doesn’t have a fairy tale connection, at least not at this time. Not everything in the world of The Yellow Hoods does, though some people have insisted that I’ve put connections in that I didn’t, e.g. like telling me that Tee’s father, William, is actually William Tell. He isn’t. He’s William Baker, son of Samuel Baker, the Baker of The Tub.
What she does have is a connection to all of us who loved listening to fairy tales and asked a million questions. She’s the classically gifted kid in that regard, asking and asking and wanting to know and not being able to help herself. She also has a temper, which is also part of being gifted.
Mounira’s father, Alman, left her in Nikolas’ care and went back to learn the fate of their family. At some point, we’ll get to explore that but not yet, not in book 3.
She quickly became close to Nikolas, Tee and the rest of her family. This causes natural friction with Elly, as you can imagine, someone coming between you and your best friend.
Book 3 will show that a relationship is forming between Christina and Mounira, as a result of the ending of book 2. This will also lead to the Steampunk purpose for introducing Mounira, which I’ve had in mind since hour one of conceiving of her as a character.
This contains a spoiler, so you might want to stop here.
When I started writing Mounira, I didn’t have her backstory in mind nor did I plan on making her as prominent of a character as I have. Also, it surprised me when I wrote the scene where she becomes a Yellow Hood, but it flowed naturally and created an interesting contrast with another new character who is introduced in book 2, potentially hinting at something for the reader or just showing that not everyone gets one of these cloaks just by showing up.
Personality wise, I find that Mounira covers a natural third corner to the personality triangle of her, Elly and Tee. Richy is a different complement to the Tee and Elly duo, and I have yet to see how Mounira and Richy do together, if that opportunity arises.
Looking forward, there is a point where Mounira is going to need to find out what happened to her family, and I hear her asking me every few pages.
Curious about something?
Got a question about the Cochon brothers or something I’ve missed? Email me and I’ll update this.