Neither Light Nor Dark follows Lily who has to reunite the suffering lands of Arcadia and abolish the rule of Reficul. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?
I honestly had a dream that I could not escape from. I sat down one night and poured it out into my laptop. Over time I got inspiration from everywhere- other books, movies, music.
Lily is an interesting and well developed character. What were some obstacles in the story that you felt were important to her character development?
I think finding out all of the lies about her former life and learning how to deal with her new future definitely helped make her into the girl that she becomes. This is more obvious in book two, The Darker Light.
I loved the fairytale-esque lore embedded in this world. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your world?
I love fairytales! C.S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first book that I remember falling in love with. His world definitely inspired me to go in that direction. The whole idea of us having a predetermined destiny was a big part of the story. I wanted the reader to ponder, “Do I have a choice?”
This is book one in the Beyond the Gates series. What can readers expect in book two of the series, The Darker Light?
Book two is full of surprises. So many things about the characters are revealed that you will find yourself wondering who to trust. Lily is taken back into Arcadia where she is faced with a past that she never knew existed. The journey is harsh but new friends are made and old ones are reunited. Book two is my favorite. I feel like lily really grows up in this one.
YA Fantasy fiction full of surprises. This is a story about a girl, the man she loves, the boy who stole her heart, and Reficul, the evil ruler that stands to ruin it all. Lily Channon gets caught up in a war only she has the power to stop. The only problem is she doesn’t know why or even how. Her quest for answers leads her on a journey through love, crazy, hard to swallow, painful betrayal, and has deadly consequences. Will she find her place? Will she be willing to give what is required of her? Does love really exist, or is EVERYONE a liar? Find out what happens in this exciting book.
Neither Light Nor Dark is about the journey of a young girl, Lily, who unknowingly bears the weight of an immense prophecy. It is an immersive fantasy novel that takes us through the incredible lands of Arcadia. From her childhood, Lily’s own family has protected her from the secrets of a dark and tumultuous past. However, her destiny reveals itself soon enough. She has to reunite the suffering lands of Arcadia and abolish the rule of the loathsome Reficul. A ragtag group of friends follow her as they face troubles, misadventures, and battles.
This was an enjoyable and unique read because of the strange fairytale-like narration throughout. The descriptions of Arcadia and its elements were elaborate and fascinating. The characters and their dialogue appeared to be out of another era altogether. However, perhaps because of these anachronisms, the text was a bit dry in places. Nonetheless, the consistent tone and style were a refreshing break from contemporary reads.
The complex relationships between Henry, Calev, and Lily were also surprisingly well-navigated. I’m not the biggest fan of garish love triangles but I was able to perceive and accept the individual perspective of each character, which was refreshing. I was astonished at how quickly I was able to jump ship between characters without too many regrets. I was definitely rooting for some of the quirky personalities that were woven throughout the story.
From the beginning, the family dynamics in Lily’s world appear to play a big role in her life. The strained relationships between Lily and her grandmother was palpable from the beginning. It was clear that these dynamics and relationships were intricately crafted. However, at times, it was difficult to establish a connection with some of the characters. I think this was because the dialogue and style of the characters were a little less believable than I would prefer. This story does take place in an entirely different time and place, and it is not difficult to ascribe this issue to the nature of the story.
Neither Light Nor Dark is a fantastically enthralling read, and a perfect setup to a riveting fantasy series.
Pages: 234 | ASIN: B01LW35M4V
The Enchanters’ Child follows three unlikely allies on a quest to find the sorcerer as they try to keep their identities secret. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
A hero on a journey to defeat the main villain is a common story arc that I sought to put my own twist on. Since I was a kid, I have always been an avid reader and I often found myself being drawn to the magical worlds I could transport myself to. I loved the idea of creating a world where anything was possible whether that is through magic and otherworldly creatures. Inspired by these stories, I decided to write a fictional fantasy story of my own.
Wren, Quinn, and Zayne are all intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?
The characters of Wren, Zayne, and Quinn are inspired by everyday teenagers. The way through which they struggle and attempt to find their identities is what makes them the most relatable. Despite this common journey to their identities, each one of them has experienced unique circumstances in their life that mold their beliefs and unique individuality. For Wren, the death of her parents causes her to become a determined, brave person that will do anything to find justice for the ones she loves. However, her thirst for revenge soon morphs into her own character flaw through failing to enjoy and live in the present. Zayne’s determining characteristic is his steadfast loyalty, whether that is to his kingdom or to his friends. His sense of duty is what drives him to aid in defeating the main antagonist as well as his empathy towards the world in which he lives in, as shown in his tenacity to find the killer of the many bodies that mysteriously begin to appear. Yet, his duty is the very thing that keeps him from his desires as he struggles with going against his father’s power and expectations. Last but not least, Quinn initially is a character portrayed to be callous and emotionless, with his only objective being to follow his orders, even if that means killing others to achieve it. Despite this, as the story progresses, readers discover that even the most notorious assassin has his own reasons for his actions, ones that can even be considered noble. Despite his sinister past, he learns to love the people around him. Quinn is unique in that his weakness is his own self. His own beliefs of his unworthiness and vileness causes him to push away those around him as he grapples between doing what is right and the sacrifices he must make if he chooses to do so.
The backstory to this world is intricate and captivating. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your world?
The setting of The Enchanters’ Child was designed to have an enchanting atmosphere, complete with magic and strange beasts. I wanted to capture a world that reminds readers of the fairytale-like worlds that they are familiar with while showing that even the most remarkable places coexist with darker facets such as greed and misused power. Along these lines, I also wanted to capture that there can be beautiful brilliance in the bleakest of places, whether that brilliance is the surroundings around the characters or each other.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
As of now, the date for publishing my next book is tentative; however, I am in the process of writing another work.
Wren has a secret. She’s the last of the Arobol, a group of magic-wielders. After her parents were murdered by a dark entity when she was young, she has been trying to discover who has killed them. However, it wasn’t just anyone; it was the Dark Sorcerer, a being who is believed to exist only in a fairytale. When an unexpected tragedy hits, Wren is forced to flee to town in hopes of finding the leader of the Gavreel Society, said to have information on her parents’ killer.
Zayne has been working for months to uncover the reason behind the dead bodies showing up in multiple towns and the mysterious symbol that is etched into their skin. As Trading Day approaches, he goes to meet with his Gavreel Society to formulate a new plan for uncovering the person behind these killings. Little does he know that he’ll find the solution in a girl, one who’s holding as many secrets as he is.
Quinn is an assassin, killing anyone his Master orders him to kill. Tasked with finding the Enchanters’ Child and bringing her back alive in exchange for his freedom, Quinn won’t let anything get in his way. Yet, when he finally discovers the Enchanters’ Child, he finds himself questioning his ability to fulfill his mission. Weaving a story of deception, he befriends the Enchanters’ Child, but wonders if she is worth his freedom.
As they race to find the Sorcerer, each for their own reasons, secrets come out, powerful enough to tear them apart.
Lamellia: The Kingdom of Mushrooms follows the king and queen of Lamellia as the kingdom is dealing with the appearance of a human child. What was the direction that you wanted to take this book that was different from The Wicked Queen?
Lamellia: The Kingdom of Mushrooms is the prequel to Lamellia: The Wicked Queen. There was no direction for the plot except that I honoured the file downloaded to me by nature. The story line seemed absolutely piffle but it nudged to be told and I had to respect the idea as it came to mind. Perhaps I was paying tribute to Paula Hawkins words “Stay faithful to the stories in your head.”
In this book we get to explore more of the king’s backstory. What were some themes you wanted to capture in his character?
I recall seeing this big, ugly and brown mushroom during a forest walk. As I sat down to write the story based on that particular mushroom, it seemed natural that regardless of its appearance it’s going to be the story lead because I saw it first and the idea of the book followed.
Why did you choose mushrooms to be a large part of your world?
This book was not planned at all. I got the idea while out in the nature. One could say that the inspiration was fuelled by my husband, who likes to point out names of wild plants in the forest.
Being authentic with this story was important even though to some people it seemed ridiculous or not one to pay most money.
Some parts of the books might appear harsh to a child. I am not keen to block truth and reality from a child such as there are poisoning mushrooms out there or some human behaviours have negative impacts to nature.
I also remember one marketing person who saw the draft and told me that their child did not like the story and went further to suggest I write a different book based on trending topics at that time which made more money. It did not put me off because humans are different and our motivations are diverse. A child who is not raised to explore nature and its residents will probably not be excited by this book. It was essential to tell this story without money being the motivator.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on two projects simultaneously. One is a children’s Swahili book co-authored by Tanzanian writers. The other is of course the continuation of Lamellia story. For the latter, I am open minded to receive ideas for where Lamellia story should go but I trust to know when the end has come.
Can a lost baby girl find a new home in a world of enchanted, talking mushrooms? King Polipoli is kind to all who enter his magical kingdom. When he learns that a human baby girl needs his help, he sends out all his mushroom troops to rescue her. But the journey wont be easy. After all, how can the little fungi carry a baby? Or feed her? Mushrooms of all shapes, sizes, and species must use teamwork and creativity to bring the girl safely to the kings castle. Lamellia: The Kingdom of Mushrooms is a delightful educational picture book for children. During the fun-filled adventure, your children will discover the importance of kindness, tolerance, and acceptance. If your child likes seeing beautiful illustrations, learning about nature, and using their imagination, then theyll love this charming fantasy tale. Journey to Lamellia today to have a fun time with fungi!
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If you’re new to the Fayborn series, grab yourself a copy of Her Unwelcome Inheritance to get started – and DON’T read on until you do, because the Sneak Preview below contains ***Spoilers***
Sneak Preview: A First or Final Mischief
Her aunt’s been abducted.
Her mother is missing.
Her enemy is waiting.
And the person she counted on for help is dead.
Too late to free the Faerie Queen, Petra Godfellow and her allies face a terrible choice: Either Petra surrenders and swears to serve James Oberon, or he will torture her Aunt Penny.
If she agrees to James’s demands, the Faerie kingdom will be restored… with James on its throne, and Petra condemned to eternal servitude. Any alternative abandons Penny to torture and her mother to an unknown fate.
Unless, of course, the Cat chooses to intervene…
A First or Final Mischief is available from Amazon here.
About the Author
Aleksandr Wootton is a self-confessed bookworm (“hoards books in shelves and spare rooms; likes to sleep surrounded by them”), fairytale enthusiast, and poet. He pretends to chair the Folklore department at Lightfoot College, but much prefers writing, gardening, & long conversations accompanied by a well-brewed pint.
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Black Ink Pearl the screen play was adapted from your award winning novel Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest. What were some challenges you encountered while adapting your novel?
Well, first I had to learn something about screenplay writing, so so different from a novel. Hadn’t a clue!! But was passionate about doing it so signed up at more than I could afford (worth it) for a course with Voyage Media. It was brilliant. Though this one wasn’t the script I got mentored on then (by marvelous and incredibly patient – I really was clueless to start – Kathleen McLaughlin) they must have taught me the craft well as have just – wait for it – heard that my ‘Black Ink Pearl’ script (subtly changed title from the book, nothing clever or deep, just to differentiate it) the Genre Winner for scifi/fantasy in the internationally acclaimed (whew!) Capital Fund Screen Play Contest 2017. Doesn’t mean it gets produced, but its certainly a step closer. It will now – this is the process for the winners – get put in front of producers (who normally, don’t I know it, ignore any sent-in scripts) in the leading companies worldwide, including China. Still looking for other producers to consider it, so let me know if you know of any. It’s a great read, honest, fantastic in both senses, great actin and characters. Anyway hold your thumbs.
Am just finishing a second, this time based on a Walter Scott novel. If adapting a novel the trick, I now know, and it’s a good one, enjoyable, is to leave out two thirds of the scenes of the original and rewrite, perhaps utterly change, most of the rest but at the same time still be inspired by that original story that first caught and moved you. Also always always always – so hard for a novelist – to show, never to tell; show through actions words, and not adverbs or attributed (by you ) inner emotions (if it’s written properly the emotion comes through in the dialogue and the acting, leave it to them). Have had such fun learning all this and seeing the characters of the novels I love through new eyes.
Also to use that funny layout (‘Final draft’ it’s called) that is apparently the ‘industry standard’. And not too many pages – 100 seems to be about right for a full-length feature film.
And don’t expect anyone to be prepared to read it, do it just for love and passion. All the same keep trying and (essential) get as much much feedback and as many times as you can (I had really great fdvice from WEScreenplay judges, not too expensive) and don’t even think of entering contests till you’ve got a high mark from one of them (I learned that the hard way
Have been encouraged since then to read somewhere that if you’re successful in one genre people may tell you to stick to that, but actually you’re likely to be successful in another, so – but only if you really WANT to – don’t’t be afraid to try it.
Wow – how did I get into all this from one simple question …
Film rights are held by Garn Press. Where are you in the process of turning this screenplay into a movie?
Holding our thumbs that we get a deal. We just just might …
If we do get an option, we’d divide the proceeds between us in our agreed proportion, while the (lesser) amount for the screenplay, in which I hold the copyright, would come to me. The good thing about an option for, say, 3-6 months, is that even if they decide ot to proceed with the movie we get to keep that money and once the option time expires can try elsewhere..
The big hope to find a producer with funding and enthusiasm to actually make the movie (or just possibly, a television series, but would be best for the big screen). Both I and the publishers (Director is wonderful Denny Taylor, by now a real friend) would both love to see our mystic fantastic story disseminatedto wider audiences, I think it would really really work as a movie and that is inspirational sybolism – not pushed at them – would get through: but we’d ONLY want it if as a high-concept movie, we’re not in it just for some trashy commercial fix however lucrative.
Let’s say you’ve got the movie deal and you have to pick some actors for your film.Which actress/actors do you think would be perfect fits for your characters?
Emilia Clarke (fabulous in ‘Game of Thrones’ – also filmed in Ireland as this one could and should be) ) as the lead, Kate. She;’s interested I hear
Daphne Alexander (now gathering a great reputation in London and Broadway) as Deirdre, Kate’s mother (or as Kate if Emilia couldn’t), sh’ed be brilliant, and warms to the novel, I know she’d be prepared to be involved.
Idris Elba as the hero Christy – he’s such an intelligent as well as talented actor/person, and shares my feeling for Africa.
Judi Dench (I was at school with her, so know her and her commitments, she just might be persuaded) as the Queen of Heaven.
Rawiri Paratene as (the complex and difficult) character of) God. He’s less well known up here than in his native New Zealand but I thought he was the real star as the grandfather/tribal chief in ‘Whale Rider’
Do you have any other plans for your novel Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest?
Absolutely: an audio book is on the way with a brilliant illustrator, also a colouring book around the novel’s key themes. It’s already had a spin-off in its prize-winning fairytale prequel, ‘Pearl of the seas’ (that will soon be an audio book too, with musical background), and there will now be a whole series, taking children, gradually, through aspects of the story from age nought upwards in a series of (probably) five children’s books, text by me, fabulous illustrations again by amazing silk artist Rachel Backshall.
All these just arrived, no deliberate planning by me. Enjoy it.
Bye for now everyone, get back with any comments or questions.
An epic romance about the naive Irish girl Kate and her mysterious lover, whom she rejects in panic and then spends her life seeking. After the opening rejection, Kate recalls her Irish upbringing, her convent education, and her coolly-controlled professional success, before her tsunami-like realisation beside an African river of the emotions she had concealed from herself and that she passionately and consumingly loved the man she had rejected.
Searching for him she visits the kingdom of beasts, a London restaurant, an old people’s home, back to the misty Donegal Sea, the heavenly archives, Eden, and hell, where at agonising cost she saves her dying love. They walk together toward heaven, but at the gates he walks past leaving her behind in the dust. The gates close behind him. He in turn searches for her and at last finds her in the dust, but to his fury (and renewed hurt) he is not ecstatically recognised and thanked. And the gates are still shut.
On a secret back way to heaven guided by a little beetle, Kate repeatedly saves her still scornful love, but at the very last, despite Kate’s fatal inability with numbers and through an ultimate sacrifice, he saves her from the precipice and they reach heaven. Kate finally realises that although her quest for her love was not vain, in the end she had to find herself – the unexpected pearl.
The novel, born in dreams, is interlaced with the ambiguity between this world and another, and increasingly becomes more poetic, riddling and dreamlike as the story unfolds. The epilogue alludes to the key themes of the novel – the eternity of love and the ambiguity between dream and reality.
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The Hobbymen follows Geoff and Book who are Amateur Monster Biologists that are out to separate truth from fairytale no matter how bizarre it may be. Where did the idea for ‘Amateur Monster Biologists’ come from?
It was born out of boredom. After consuming media for over 25 years, I had become bored with the same stories popping up. I was bored with prophecies and characters destined to save the world. I was bored with all these rules about monsters that were in place for no reason other than tradition. I was bored with something as silly as a werewolf being treated with dignity and respect. So I thought, “What if all these myths were only half the story? What if the heroes were actually just some schmucks who had no idea what they were doing? Why don’t we take all the folklore to the stupidest conclusion we can find?” Because I don’t take myself too seriously and thought it was high time modern fantasy reflected that mindset. Also they’re biologists rather than hunters because hunting becomes a game of “find monster, kill monster” and having it be research is not only more fun, it opens a lot more possibility for exploring different aspects of the world they live in.
There is a lot of witty banter and sarcasm being thrown around by the characters. Did you have fun writing this novel?
I really did, sometimes more than I expected. Large portions of the book were sort of mentally written in my head as I was driving or just going throughout my day, but some scenes were completely unplanned and ended up being the most fun by just having the characters bounce off each other. The worst part was always coming up with a bit that got me really excited and it wouldn’t show up for another 3 chapters. I always had to slow myself down and make sure each chapter was worthwhile, even if I wasn’t as excited about it initially.
Liliana is a down-on-her-luck young nun who’s caught stealing a loaf of bread in a little town in Mexico. How did her character develop as you were writing?
Very slow and difficult. That’s what happens when the basis for your character started as “nun that beats things with a bat”. Having her be the audience surrogate in the beginning helped because it gave me a couple chapters for her to breathe before I really needed to know what she was about. I had a good handle on her about half way through the book, and made sure to go back and make sure she was consistent throughout. A lot of things for her sort of fell into place. Her cohorts were each at opposite ends of the spectrum, so she became a mixture of short-tempered and goofy to balance it out. She needed to be strong and independent, yet still function as a part of a team. My biggest focus was always to make sure her actions and dialogue came from herself as a character, and not as “the girl of the group” or “stock archetype #15”. I think a lot of the time she was the hardest to write just because she is somehow the least extreme in terms of her personality.
What were some books or movies that you think were your main sources of inspiration?
I tend to take inspiration from many places, which probably comes across as a cop out answer. The real answer is I grew up watching horror movies, reading Stephen King and Poe, and watching a little show called Mystery Science Theater 3000. The latter, for any unaware, essentially aired old B-movies and made fun of them. As a kid I loved the concept and my family ended up doing it on our own for any movie we watched. So unwittingly the concept for a book where monsters and myths are handled with a heaping dose of self-awareness and eye rolling was planted fairly early in my mind. But in terms of writing I tend to find inspiration through a lot of the classics. Like I think Catch-22 is an amazing tool in teaching about how to create the tone of a scene or how Dickens made sure to utilize his prose to make mundane events a joy to read.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
I am currently finishing up on a short story in the Hobbymen universe titled “Truth, Dare, Scissors” which is going to be released sometime before October. It’s the second short story I’ve written with these characters, the first being “Interview with a Vampire Named Bob” which acts as a prequel to the book. I am currently working on a sequel as well. What can I say, I enjoy these characters and I’m too lazy to come up with new ones for now. The next full novel is too far away to estimate, but I will definitely be finishing it.
Sister Liliana has not been having the best of days. Between running away from the convent and then being thrown into a desolate prison, she has started to lose hope of having a fun Wednesday. That is until she meets two strange men with a rather peculiar hobby: Amateur Monster Biology. From ancient monsters to urban legends, Geoff and Book are out to separate truth from fairytale, no matter how bizarre or ridiculous that truth may be. And as they have found, there is truth in everything. Soon Liliana is caught in a whirlwind of adventure as they show her a side of the world she never thought existed, filled with fantastic creatures hiding in plain sight. But just as it seems her life is finally turning around, the group get a foreboding message from an unexpected, sinister source. Are the three of them in over their heads this time? Yes…the answer is yes.
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