Welcome to my very first author interview on my blog with debut Australian author, Lynette Noni, who penned the fabulous Akarnae. So welcome, Lynette, to The Book Muse!
1. Hi Lynette, and welcome to The Book Muse. How are you today?
I’m amazing, thank you! And thanks so much for ‘having me’ here!
2. Can you tell us what your childhood was like, where you grew up and if any of it inspired your desire to write?
I grew up on a farm in outback Australia and then moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast when I was seven. I’ve been fortunate to have been raised by an incredibly loving family who have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams, even when those dreams have seemed impossible. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without them constantly reminding me that ‘anything is possible’ and ‘the best is still to come.’
3. Did anything in your life growing up inspire Akarnae and The Medoran Chronicles? The series is slated as a combination of Harry Potter, Narnia and X-Men – do you have a favourite of the three?
I’ve always been a bit of a daydreamer, wandering the fantasy worlds of my overactive imagination. Unfortunately, I never found my own doorway to Medora (… or did I?) so the series hasn’t been inspired by real life events, per se. But it has been inspired by wishful thinking and many “wouldn’t it be cool if…” moments of indulgence.
As to picking my favourite between HP, Narnia and X-Men—eeek! What a tough decision! I probably have to answer Harry Potter, since I spent over a decade of my younger years waiting impatiently for each new release (and wishing for my own owl invitation to Hogwarts).
4. Congratulations on being the youngest author to be represented by Pantera Press. What a remarkable achievement. What made you decide to send your manuscript to Alison and her team?
I didn’t know very much about Pantera Press when I sent off my submission, but everything I had heard or read was complimentary. I also loved that they were committed to giving new authors a chance, when so many of the other publishing houses weren’t willing to take risks on untried and untested authors. Pantera’s website claims that they are all about ‘discovering and nurturing talented new authors’—and that is exactly what they have done for me. They have gone over and above anything I could have ever imagined to help make my dreams come true.
5. What inspired the character of Alexandra Jennings? I found her very intriguing, and look forward to more of her adventures.
Nothing specifically inspired Alex other than me having a vague idea of how I wanted her character to be presented. She 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 to us, since we can almost imagine ourselves in her place—or at least walking along beside her and her friends.
6. Like you, I am of the Harry Potter generation and never received my Hogwarts letter. If you were to attend Hogwarts, which house would have hoped to be in? I think I’d be a Ravenclaw.
Ooooh! This is SUCH a great question! I’m going to have to go with my Gryffindor pride here, I think! Yay, Gryffindor!!
7. In Akarnae, I loved the mystery surrounding everything in the characters and Medora, and I am looking forward to finding out if Alex’s parents find out that she attends Akarnae rather than the school they enrolled her in. How do you think they might react to her abilities?
Haha, to semi-quote the Weasley twins (I think), all I’ll say is, “Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies.”
8. When you aren’t writing, what do you enjoy doing the most?
That’s easy—reading!! Anything I can get my hands on, but especially YA books!
9. I’d like to ask a bit of advice for potential writers and authors reading my blog, as they, along with readers, make up my audience. What do you do when you get stuck? I know many authors have different ways to deal with this, and I always find it interesting to hear their different methods.
When I get stuck, it’s usually because I’m at a dragging scene that doesn’t excite me but it’s necessary for world building (or some other valid reason). I find action scenes easy to write because I’m so ‘in the moment’, but some of the most important stuff happens in the quiet times—that’s where the mystery can be cultivated, along with the potential setting up of plot twists. But those parts can be gritty and frustrating to write, especially if I want them to be perfect. My rule of thumb is, if it’s boring me, then it’s probably going to bore the reader. So, to combat that, I try and spruce it up, reignite a passion, make something happen amongst all the quiet. Even if it’s only a single sentence of surprise or a well-placed witticism in dialogue—just something to keep my (and the reader’s) attention. And if I have enough of those targeted bursts of excitement, it usually gets me through the grit and out the other side to more of the easier to write action scenes. Thus, unstuck!
10. Finally, is there any chance you can give us a hint as to when book two will be published? Or at least a title?
Book two is called ‘Raelia’—and the good news is that it’s already written! I just have to go through the professional editing and proofreading stages before we have a better idea of a release date. But it will be out sometime within the next 12 months—woohoo!
Thank you for answering my questions, Lynette, and good luck with the next book and the rest of the series.