Lilia has always loved writing and wanted to craft a novel, so it is only fitting that she chose to do so as her final project. Lilia has grown up listening to stories about her grandparents’ lives in Guatemala and why they immigrated to Canada, all of which inspired her to write a fictional novel heavily based on them, her other family members, and the country’s political climate throughout their lifetimes. Mid-semester, Lilia realized that completing the full novel wasn't attainable, which lead to completing the first half and ending it at the point where her grandparents meet. The novel begins in their childhood and follows them through adolescent stages, detailing what it meant to grow up in poverty in 1940's-1950's Guatemala. It follows as their lives intertwine at the beginning of what would be a thirty year civil war for their country. It will continue on into their adulthood and describe how their family life was affected when her grandfather decided to take on a movement that was far bigger than himself. The novel touches on important topics such as classism, colourism, political corruption, the problems that arise in familial relationships, and what it means to start a new life by leaving everything behind.
This semester, Lilia wanted to be challenged and really understand what it meant to be a full-time novelist. She conducted several interviews, took online writing classes and received feedback from the Propel Writers Guild and from her full-time feedback mentor. She has learned different styles of writing and the difficulties that come with each of them. She has also discovered her personal writing pace by overcoming the challenges and deadlines that came with this project. This whole process has allowed her to grow drastically as a writer and has given her a deeper appreciation for her family and the culture that is rooted within it. She will be returning in her grade 12 year to complete it and publish La Travesia.