Alina Sayre began her literary career chewing on board books and has been in love with words ever since. Now she is an editor, educator, speaker, and the award-winning author of The Voyages of the Legend, a fantasy series for ages 9-14.
Her debut novel, The Illuminator’s Gift, won a silver medal for Best First Book in the 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and received a 5-star review from Reader’s Favorite, and all three books in The Voyages of the Legend series have received 5-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite.
When she’s not writing, Alina enjoys hiking, crazy socks, and reading under blankets. She does not enjoy algebra or wasabi. When she grows up, she would like to live in a castle with a large library.
*** Author Interview ***
Hi Alina Sayre, welcome to our magical interview couch. It’s great to have you here at the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network and we look forward to learning more about you.
What was the defining event that made you start writing?
I actually hated writing as a kid. I think it was because my handwriting was so bad. Then, in 5th grade, I wrote a story that made my teacher cry. I was totally shocked and amazed that a made-up story could affect someone in such a real way. It also made me start to view myself as someone who could be good at writing. Needless to say, I started working harder at it after that and totally fell in love.
That’s an amazing turn-around. It’s interesting how a class teacher can have such a lasting affect on us. Well done!
What made you choose this genre?
I like to read across a wide variety of genres, but I especially love the power of fantasy/speculative fiction to tell truths about real life in an indirect way. Plus, it’s really fun to make up your own science.
What’s the basic plot of your series?
In a fantasy world of ocean and islands, The Voyages of the Legend series follows Ellie, a 12-year-old orphan girl with a mysterious gift of Sight, and her crewmates aboard the flying ship Legend as they encounter danger, friendship, and adventure. My newest book, The Illuminator Rising, is #3 in the series. This book focuses on Ellie’s quest to raise an army from the shattered ruins of her people—and her journey to overcome the fear within herself.
Sounds very inspiring. I must check it out.
Which one of your characters would you like to be?
I’d want to be Vivian, a gifted linguist who can read 18 languages. She’s kind, smart, and really awesome at standing up for herself. She also loves books and libraries.
Do you have another job outside of writing?
By day, I teach writing as a private tutor. Once I swore I would never teach, but I’ve really come to love it. My new book is dedicated in part to my amazing students, whose curiosity and enthusiasm inspire me. Occasionally I also do stints as a book editor or a speaker at school or literacy events.
Have you used any real events or places as inspiration for your writing?
Absolutely, especially for this new book. Every place I’ve ever been becomes a potential setting for a story. The major islands in The Illuminator Rising are based off a blend of my past travels to Hawai’i, Turkey, Spain, and the American Southwest—blended, of course, with fantasy creations.
How did you go about developing your cover artwork?
I found my cover designer, Jenny Zemanek of Seedlings Design Studio, through Joel Friedlander’s E-Book Cover Design Awards—a great place to get introduced to a variety of cover designers. Jenny is a not only a talented designer, but a great listener, and she has worked closely with me to bring the flavor of each book to visual life.
Jenny does a great job. I like all your covers.
If you could only take three books with you through an interstellar portal, what would they be?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. The Bible. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo. These books remind me to hope, to believe, and to love.
Who inspires you?
My mom. Malala Yousafzai. J.R.R. Tolkien. Susan Cain. Pope Francis. Kate DiCamillo.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I like to drink coffee with friends, read, and hike. Also watch Disney movies. I’m secretly eight years old.
Favourite food: Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup)
Silliest saying: “You can’t have an ostrich race with only one ostrich!” –Prince of Persia
Best holiday spot: Pacific Grove, California
Favourite song at the moment: “I’m A Believer” by the Monkees
Star Wars or Lord of the Rings: Lord of the Rings! Not that I didn’t go see the new Star Wars movie in costume, though…
Best superpower: Flight. I want it.
Number one thing to do on your bucket list: Write a book. Oh wait—done that. How about travel to New Zealand?
Thanks Alina Sayre for this fun interview. It’s great to learn how you started writing and what inspires you to keep going. Best of luck for The Voyages of the Legend series.
PS: Oh no, I forgot to ask which character Alina dressed up as for The Force Awakens. What do you guys think?
Interviewed by Kasper Beaumont, author of the Hunters of Reloria fantasy series. www.huntersofreloria.weebly.com
Alina Sayre’s links
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