In "The Yasmak's Beard" R. L. McDowall uses new age philosophy to convey the messages of controlling your thoughts and expectations. While her subject may seem heavy, her storyline allows the readers still to enjoy a light-hearted coming-of-age fantasy.
The readers are introduced to Anjellica, a 12-year old whose village has been placed under a curse by a group of wizards. The only way the curse can be lifted is if a child sets off on his or her own to gather what is needed to lift the curse.
Anjellica joins a 16-year-old named Hanreid, who is a very small being, in his journey to Absith, to warn the other very small beings, including the most respected elder, the Bearded Yasmak, of the evil wizards' plans. Anjellica and her new companion must face obstacles from Baldur, Bryson and Elfirth, the evil wizards, as they also seek the Yasmak's beard for future spells.
McDowall hopes this light-hearted story will appeal to more than just the young adult readers who are usually connected to the fantasy genre. The author believes that the philosophical aspects woven within the coming-of-age plot line are not as pronounced as in other moral writings. She believes the humor that accompanies the delivery of these lessons make "The Yasmak's Beard" an enjoyable read for all ages.
McDowall feels that "The Yasmak's Beard" is similar to the popular "Harry Potter" series, but with more of an emphasis on philosophical and life teachings. She believes that the important lesson of good triumphing over evil shines through as Anjellica perseveres through the obstacles that stand in her way.
R. L. McDowall has lived in France, Italy, Canada and the United States over the course of her life. She received a master's in astronomy from Yale University. McDowall was a co-owner of Scottish Specialties and Newdawn Publishing Company, but she has also worked as a research scientist studying the effects of lightning and icing on aircraft and high intensity radiated fields before retiring as a test engineer in 2010. While McDowall is a first-time novelist, her other writings are in the fields of aviation, avionics, digital systems validation and computer programming areas.