Laguna Legend Carole Zavala, 84, Publishes First Novel


Laguna Beach legend Carole Zavala, known for her wonderful paintings, her founding of Gallery Q, and various stints directing local nonprofits, including the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, now has another accomplishment to add to her list: she’s just published her first novel, Serena’s Magic, to much acclaim – particularly from young teenage girls, its primary audience.

In the YA fantasy, Serena, her wizard father Garrith, Raggitt (a verse-spouting magician), and Ta-Pu (a dolphin boy) join forces on a quest to free a princess from a strange spell cast by a sorceress. The charming story is told with verve and whimsical humor.

Remarkably, Zavala – now 84 – began writing the book more than 60 years ago. After graduating from UCLA, she taught in East Los Angeles from 1963-70 and ended up as a specialized instructor working with gifted kids at three different schools.

“I was very bored during faculty meetings and started writing the story,” she said. “I would write off and on, reviving the manuscript in the early nineties for a while. But it was only after I took a fiction class at the Susi Q last year that I felt inspired to finish the book.”

Lynette Brasfield, who taught the class that inspired Zavala, can’t praise her highly enough.

“Carole is a talented writer and a wonderful person to boot. Serena’s Magic is a charming, immersive tale that will delight young girls who dream of adventure. I especially love the fun, brave, feisty heroine and the hilarious cast of characters who join her quest,” Brasfield said. “This is truly a magical book.”

Always busy with something creative, Zavala is currently working on a musical that involves an Egyptian high priestess in a bar in Hawaii called Little Cairo. She’s also pondering writing a sequel to Serena’s Magic.

“We need more female heroines in this genre, I believe,” Zavala said. “Plus, I had such fun writing this book.”

Serena’s Magic is available on Amazon and soon at select Laguna outlets.

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