To celebrate the release of the fourth and final book in her middle grades fantasy series, I was delighted to catch up with author Alina Sayre and find out more about how she balances her writing life.
I adored the first book in The Voyages of the Legend series and while I’m not fully up to date with Ellie’s adventures since then, Alina’s covers are some of the most gorgeous I’ve seen. This collection would make a beautiful present for a young reader as the season of gift-buying approaches!
Since I’m on a big serenity voyage myself this year, I was curious to hear how Alina manages the demands of authoring and publishing… so I asked her:
With 4 novels written over the span of 9 years, how do you stay organized with details about your characters and their One Kingdom setting?
I wish I could say I stayed very organized through it all, but that would be a gross exaggeration! My writing style is sometimes known as “pantsing” (or, in nicer terms, “organic process”), in which I create a basic outline but ultimately let the characters drive the direction of the story. I think writing the Voyages of the Legend series this way made the books feel more authentic, but it also forced me to do some challenging plot acrobatics for the concluding volume. Before beginning The Illuminated Kingdom, I re-read each of the previous books and took careful notes to avoid inconsistencies. Ultimately, though, I feel like it’s about knowing your characters. Over the last nine years, Ellie and her crew have become like friends to me, and I know their personalities and quirks through and through. I just needed to brush up on the details to make sure this fourth book stayed consistent. Hopefully I didn’t miss anything!
How do you balance being an indie author, with promotional efforts, publishing tasks, and your other responsibilities? Do you have any favorite tips for de-stressing?
Besides being an indie author, I work as a private tutor, and most of the time the two jobs complement each other well. However, the last crunch phase of publishing and promoting a new book always seems to get crazy, no matter how carefully I plan ahead. In an ideal world, I would take time to balance the stress with some yoga, mindful breathing, long walks, and other healthy practices that I use in normal life. But unfortunately, that last phase of book publishing often involves less balanced practices, such as getting very little sleep and eating a lot of chocolate peanut butter cups. But hugs from my loved ones and cuddles with my dog, Hamlet, go a very long way toward de-stressing. 🙂
I’m sure these characters, by now, are very close to your heart. How are you feeling about this being the end of an era, and what’s next for you as a writer?
You’re right that these characters are close to my heart. They’ve lived in my head for nearly a decade! Part of me feels nostalgic, and even a little nervous, about ending this series. I’m sure it will leave a void, and I’m not yet sure what will fill it. But it also brings the excitement of new possibilities. Now that I’m finished with this series, I could write anything! First I plan to take a break to rest and rebalance my life. Then I have a couple of very interesting new ideas waiting to be entertained. I’m not yet sure which one will come first, but it’s likely to include a genre jump and some new adventures!
About the book:
The Vestigia Roi has risen up to retake their home island of Rhynlyr, but all Ellie can think about is rescuing her missing brother, Connor. Guided by a dream of Connor’s whereabouts, Ellie disobeys the Council’s orders and stows away aboard the Legend. But a simple rescue mission quickly goes wrong as Ellie and her friends confront new monsters and old enemies. The crewmembers of the Legend soon find themselves waging a last, desperate battle to save not just Connor or Rhynlyr, but their entire world. As the One Kingdom hangs in the balance, Ellie and the Vestigia Roi must ultimately decide what they are fighting for—and how much they are willing to sacrifice for it.
You can buy The Illuminated Kingdom here and connect with Alina through her website or Goodreads. Even better, stop by the book launch party on November 18th in Santa Clara, northern California, to meet Alina and grab a signed copy from this warm and engaging author.