Guest blog by Marcia Mickelson, author of The Huaca
My YA novel, The Huaca, comes out May 14. Many people have asked me how the word is pronounced and what it means. Huaca is pronounced wak'a.
In Quechua, a Native American language of South America, a huaca is an object that represents something revered. In my novel, it takes on a different meaning. I have used its broad meaning and changed it for my own purposes.
Part of what I love about being an author is that you can take something real and change it to meet your own needs. This is what I have done with the word huaca. While in most cases, a huaca refers to a sacred monument, I have changed its meaning to refer to a wooden artifact, hand-crafted by Incan natives. It’s still something revered—it’s a sacred object used by the Incan people to communicate with their loved ones who have passed on.
In The Huaca, Gabe de la Cruz is in possession of a huaca; it has been handed down from his great-grandfather, a full-blooded Incan. Here is a description of my book:
Seventeen-year-old Ellie Cummings just wants to be a regular teenager, but after her mother’s mysterious murder, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever be normal again. Her mother’s death has left Ellie and her father worlds apart. And when her best friend abandons her, Ellie has no one else to turn to—except for the strange boy who says he can help.
Gabe de la Cruz seems to know way too much about everything, and her instincts tell Ellie to stay far away. But when he claims that he can communicate with the dead through an ancient Incan artifact, Ellie can’t resist the temptation of seeing her mother again. In the hanan pacha—the Incan afterworld—Ellie’s mother sends a message to help Ellie understand what happened the night of the murder—a message that may be better kept a secret . . .