Who is Novi?

This is one of my favourite portraits that I took during our time in Raja Ampat.

Meet Raulince, my inspiration for the character Novi in Ocean Warriors: Plastic in Paradise.

When I first met Raulince she was jumping from jetty to boat, throwing hooks into the sea trying to catch fish that were schooling in the shallows.  She was energetic and playful and strong.  And the smile didn't leave her face.

I was totally entranced by her.

When I wrote Ocean Warriors, it was her face I saw and her spirit I wanted to capture.

The original outline of the story had Novi finding herself entangled in Marine Debris and being rescued by her brother and his friends.  Seeing Raulince's image every time I sat down to write made it impossible for me to make her a victim.

In fact, she became a hero of sorts.

A bold girl who throws herself at every opportunity that comes her way, that is willing and ready to try new things, and that humbly but insistently puts one foot in front of the other and keeps on going even when the problem seems too big to fathom.