Hello fangtastic followers! I’m thrilled to introduce another brand-spanking new interview, with the very talented newly-published author, Lynette Noni, author of ‘Akarnae‘- available in paperbook and as an ebook on Amazon. ‘Akarnae’ has been receiving rave reviews on Amazon and GoodReads, so here is the author herself, to tell us more about it…
1. Hello Lynette, and a very warm welcome to The Breathing Ghosts Series Blog. For readers wanting to know more about your debut novel ‘Akarnae’, can you tell us a bit more about it?
Sure! ‘Akarnae’ is about a sixteen-year-old girl who becomes stranded in a fantasy world called Medora. She quickly discovers that there’s only one man who can help her get back home, but he’s missing. While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy—a school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. While there, Alex learns that there is something sinister happening in Medora, and she is at the centre of it all. Ultimately, she has to decide what she’s willing to sacrifice in order to save a world to which she doesn’t even belong.
2. ‘Akarnae’ has recently been published – congratulations! What is the best thing about being a newly published author?
It’s so surreal! Every day I wake up and have to pinch myself just to see whether it’s all just a dream. There are way too many amazing things to mention specifics, but one of the ‘best things’ is that I love hearing from people all over the world who are reading this story and embracing the wonder of Alex’s adventures in Medora right along with me.
3. ‘Akarnae’ is set in a fantasy realm called Medora. How did you strive to make Medora different from other fantasy worlds in literature, e.g. Narnia?
I wanted Medora to be a world that readers would want to visit, if only it was possible. Places like Narnia and Hogwarts stay in our hearts and minds forever, and I wanted ‘Akarnae’ to cause a similar kind of longing through the world building (and, of course, the characters). For that to happen, I spent a lot of time daydreaming and allowed my imagination to run wild as I gave in to my most creative fantasies in order to bring Medora to life.
4. How do you feel your novel is different from other YA fantasy novels currently available?
Honestly, I don’t think it is! (Am I allowed to say that? *Awkward face*) I never set out to revolutionize the YA fantasy genre with some left-field, unimaginably unique, never-before-experienced kind of story. Frankly, I’m not sure if I have enough creativity for something like that. *Laughs*. But seriously, I wanted to write a book that I enjoyed—and it was my hope that other people would enjoy it, too. To do that, I built upon the kinds of books I already loved reading and tried to come up with my own take on them. ‘Akarnae’ is a result of that.
5. What kind of message do you think ‘Akarnae’ gives to its readers?
There are definitely a number of themes in ‘Akarnae’, making it extremely relatable no matter what stage of life readers are in—from the young to the young at heart. Some of these themes are of friendship and family, of choices and willpower, of strength and courage, and of doing what is right rather than what is easy. There are a number of other messages that can be found if you’re looking for them—but you have to discover them for yourself!
6. How is the character of Alex different from other YA fantasy heroines- e.g. Lyra in Philip Pullman’s ‘Dark Materials’, for instance?
One of the first professional industry reviews for ‘Akarnae’ described Alex as “a pleasing mix of naïve and savvy” which is kind of a great way to describe her. Alex is strong and courageous, smart and witty. But she also has her flaws. Most of all, Alex is real. She’s just like any other teenager trying to find her way in the world—even if her new world is just a little more fantastical than most. Alex is someone I think many of us all aspire to be like, but she’s also someone many of us can already relate to, possibly because we can see a little bit of her in each of us. That makes her journey just that much more real for us, since we can almost see ourselves in her place.
7. Why was it important that Alex has extraordinary abilities?
I didn’t want Alex to be someone with instant superhero status upon arriving in Medora. Her story is a journey of self-discovery; one where, like many other teenagers, she’s riddled with doubt and plagued by enough insecurities to keep her humble and relatable. But there still had to be something special about her, something that gave her a reason to be the main character rather than just a sidekick. That’s why Alex can do what she does when she eventually realises what it is that she can do… And I really can’t say more than that without giving anything away!
8. What novels have inspired you as a writer?
My token response here is always going to be the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling really did create such an incredible world filled with wonder and magic, and it’s impossible for me not to reference her creation as an inspiration!
9. What is your favourite book?
This is seriously an impossible question for me! There are just too many options! I can’t even begin to narrow it down, especially when it’s also very dependent on my mood. I read so many incredible books that I can’t imagine picking just one (or even a handful of them).
10. Do you have any advice for any aspiring writers out there?
If writing is something you’re passionate about, then never, ever give up. No matter how hard it might be, no matter how challenging it might seem, always hold onto your dreams and keep hoping that one day they will come true. And in the meantime, keep writing—and keep reading, too! Practice makes perfect!
11. Do you have any upcoming projects or events you’d like to tell us about?
At the moment I’m probably most excited about finishing up the editing of ‘Raelia’ (book two in The Medoran Chronicles) and getting it ready for release. I had so much fun writing the continuation of Alex’s story and I can’t wait for people to read it, especially considering the wonderful feedback I’ve already received about ‘Akarnae’. I’m also looking forward to the release of the first book in another series that my publishers and I are hoping to get out to the world later this year. Stay tuned for more exciting news about that coming soon!
Thank you Lynette!