“Amarras do Destino”, the latest novel by the Bahian writer Mary Cristiane, plunges the reader into a story of love that transcends cultural boundaries and challenges the shackles of the past. When Lunna, a young white woman raised on a luxurious farm, meets Poti, an indigenous boy, during a dive in the river, a deep connection is established. What begins as a friendship quickly turns into an intense love, but both are confronted with the familial patterns of the past that shape their lives in the present. As Lunna unravels ancestral secrets of her family, she realizes that their destiny is intrinsically linked to the choices made by their ancestors. With a narrative that blends romance, tradition, and self-discovery, “Amarras do Destino” invites readers to reflect on the importance of breaking patterns and building a future based on conscious choices.
What was the inspiration behind creating the story of “Amarras do Destino” and the characters Lunna and Poti?
The creation came as a brainstorm and without sending a message. On a vacation trip I was on a beach located next to an indigenous reserve. I went back to the summer house. Sitting, looking at the sea, the urge to write began. I didn’t stop throughout the entire period. At the restaurant, when inspiration came, I wrote it on my napkin so I wouldn’t forget anything. The names of the characters, at first, emerged as the basis of the story. Thus, the characters were created.
How did your training in Psychology and Law influence the psychological approach to the characters and family dynamics in the narrative?
A priori, Law played a role in the composition of conflict mediation. Psychology, on the other hand, was approached in a more playful way of dealing with initiation (rite of passage for young people), frustrations, emotions, differences, prejudices, among others.
In “Amarras do Destino”, the characters face challenges related to breaking family patterns. How do you address this issue in the story and what message do you want to convey to readers?
We are beings who live in a group and feel like we belong to it. However, if there is even the slightest possibility of breaking this bond, we tend to react to maintain the pattern. We like the new, but it scares us, we end up redesigning the old in fear of the new, “a new one of the same”. This happens in human relationships: a new member of a certain group arrives, this person is not yet known, so they need to be screened by the older ones. This extends to work, school, religious communities, etc. In the book, this starts gently, with small portions of reflections on cultural differences. The vision of the characters’ innocence reminds us of ourselves when we were children, without judgment or indifference. As time passes, they will have to deal with real life in the world of adults, both go through initiation tests, which will strengthen them to deal with future conflicts of prejudice and discrimination.
The romance between Lunna and Poti transcends cultural differences and the ties of the past. How did you develop this relationship and what does it represent for the characters?
It emerged little by little. My intention is for the reader to understand some aspects inherent to the individual’s will in their destiny. Unless he is aware, so as not to repeat himself and get out of the clan’s entanglement. We live in a society where, not too long ago, a person could only have relationships with their peers, as well as marry or do business. Currently, the differences continue. The conception of judgment and prejudice, often veiled, is disguised. In the book, I address each clan’s point of view in a more exposed way, that is, right or wrong, but with another perspective by changing lenses. Only through confrontation do we awaken, and each Clan has a story of suffering, a trajectory.
The book addresses themes such as maturity, overcoming obstacles and the search for truth. How do these themes intertwine in the story and what is the central message you want to convey to readers?
The truth will set you free, however, the pain is pedagogical. Maturity is not a biological question, but a decision-making one. To overcome adversity, overcome obstacles, the truth about how to navigate the process will help us strengthen and cross our own forest. The crossing requires determination and strength to remain firm on the journey. Sometimes the playful way helps us to understand this maturation process with different eyes, especially when a young person begins to enter adulthood. In the book this process happens gradually.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when writing “Amarras do Destino” and how did you overcome it?
Crossing my own forest, believing that finishing the book was a process that depended solely on me. Doing this despite hearing that “nobody makes money from books”, “it’s very difficult to enter this world”, and my saboteur side saying that I wasn’t good enough, that my story wasn’t attractive, among others. First, I watched a video by Lilian Cardoso . Next, I took the Admirable Writers course . Today I’m here.
You mentioned that this is the first volume of a duology. What can readers expect from the next book and how does it connect to Lunna and Poti’s story?
Both characters represent us in some way or someone we know, looking for a place in the sun. With this, they learned some fundamental principles and values to achieve fulfillment in adult life, without dishonoring loved ones, even if they do not agree with modulators of beliefs and judgments. They use moral confrontation to “get real”. It is very beautiful to see that the characters were creating the stature of internal government to impose themselves on the external world. The proposal is to work more with the characters’ internal journey.
What was the research process like to portray the indigenous traditions present in the story? Did you have any personal experiences that influenced the representation of these cultures?
I come from an indigenous ancestral root whose daily life I had no access to. In my childhood, in the city where I lived, I had access to culture and I always liked buying accessories and instruments from the indigenous people who sold these objects for food. Today I understand better what was happening and I understand that some reports were sad. I researched some youth initiation traditions, both in communities in Brazil and abroad, to give more emotion to the character.
In addition to being a lawyer and psychologist, you also have experience in Restorative Justice. How did this experience influence the construction of conflicts and resolutions in the plot?
Training as a Restorative Justice facilitator and specializing in Legal Psychology in Conflict Mediation were a turning point in terms of maintaining non-violent communication (NC) developed by Marshall Rosenberg and active listening, to know how to listen to the needs of others. In this way, the protagonists will be the pivot of the possible alliance of a rupture that has lasted for generations.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers who want to turn their ideas into published books?
Get advice from professionals who have experience in the area. These people will be able to guide you on the best paths to follow. Obstacles cannot be resolved 100%, since we are beings under construction, but they will certainly be minimized. Grupo LC has helped me every step of the way so far. I intend to carry this partnership throughout my career as a writer.
Follow Mary Cristiane on Instagram