Why Write About Giraffes?


Last week, a friend asked me why I chose to use giraffes in my fantasy novel, The Watchers of Moniah (coming soon from New Mythology Press). It's not the first, nor will it be the last, time I've heard that question.

The short answer?

I love giraffes. I've been fascinated with them for most of my life.  If you're around me any amount of time, especially on social media, you will know this.

The long answer?

Believe it or not, I don't remember why. Unlike some of my story themes or ideas, I can't pinpoint the exact moment when giraffes became a part of the kingdom of Moniah.

Long before giraffes joined the cast of characters, I developed a story concept about a warrior queen returning from her ally's kingdom when overtaken and captured by soldiers of her allies. The added twist involved her betrothal to the son of these same traitorous allies. This story morphed over the years, yet elements of this early plot remain.

But back to the question of giraffes. I needed something supernatural in the story, so I created a female army who protects the warrior queen. I called them Watchers, actually Giraffe Watchers in the earlier versions. Based on feedback, I dropped "giraffe" from their title, but these soldiers descend from women receiving specific gifts from the Creator. I took traits of the giraffe and created those gifts.

Which traits?

I'm glad you asked!

  • Long-range vision: giraffes see farther than most animals of the savanna thanks to their impressive height
  • Tall: tallest animal on earth
  • Early danger warning: thanks to their stature giving them an ability to see farther, they are known as the watch towers for other animals
  • Fast runners: giraffes can run at 35 mph for short distances and 10 mph for long distances


Building on these traits, I expanded them into fantastical gifts, seasoning them with my knowledge of adult learning principles-visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-especially visual.

And of course, you can't have traits borrowed from giraffes without giraffes participating in your story.

Somewhere in the miasma of creating a story, the giraffes appeared. I can't imagine The Watchers of Moniah without these amazing and graceful creatures.

Want to know more about giraffes and my upcoming books? Join the Watcher Tribe and stay up to date!

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