Young Adult Fantasy in South Carolina

Alyssa Rose Ivy lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. I recently read and reviewed the first two books of Alyssa Rose Ivy's Afterglow Trilogy, and today I'm lucky enough to invite the author to answer some questions on my blog. So, thank you Alyssa, and readers, I'm sure if you leave questions Alyssa will be visit sometime to answer them.

Just a quick blurb from the two books before we start:

Beckoning Light: As Charlotte steps through the gate, she has a strong feeling that nothing will ever be the same again.
Moving back to South Carolina after three years away, Charlotte knows she's going to have to face people from her past and adjust to a new high school, but she's completely unprepared for what else waits for her in Charleston.
Drawn through an old garden gate, Charlotte discovers a hidden world where she meets Calvin, a boy to whom she is inexplicably attracted. As Charlotte is pulled deeper into this hidden world, it's up to her older brother Kevin to rescue her. No matter how hard Kevin tries, the rescue depends upon Charlotte fighting her intense feelings for Calvin while mastering a set of abilities that she has only just discovered she possesses.
Perilous Light: Would you sacrifice everything for a world you barely knew?
It has been over a year since Charlotte and Kevin first stepped through the gate into Energo, and neither has been able to settle back into a normal life.
Even though she tries to deny it, Charlotte is in love with Calvin and can’t push him from her mind. She distracts herself with the antics of James and her growing friendship with Liam—the one person who seems to understand her.
Kevin is starting to adjust to his new identity as a college student and basketball player, but he can’t seem to shake his feelings for Samantha, his fear for Charlotte’s safety or the sensation that basketball is no longer enough.
When they unexpectedly return to Energo, both Charlotte and Kevin must face their fears and step up to become the leaders they were always meant to be.

And our interview:
1.       Why did you set the story in South Carolina? I really liked the contrast between SC and Alaska.

From the beginning, garden imagery played a big part in developing Beckoning Light. Specifically I kept picturing a lush southern garden. At first I tried using Savannah, but having spent a lot of time in Charleston, the setting seemed the ideal fit.

2.       Did you know before you started writing that you were going to tell the story through Charlotte and Kevin's eyes? Did you find it hard to create their different voices as you wrote?

Although Charlotte’s story is the dominant one in Beckoning Light, the Afterglow has always been the story of siblings. I knew that to tell the complete story I needed to give the reader dual perspectives. Charlotte’s voice came much more naturally to me, but I have had a lot of fun writing Kevin. A dual perspective is very challenging, but I can’t imagine the Afterglow Trilogy without it.

3.       Did you know at the start that you were going to write a trilogy, or did you just find your original book got too long--I've always wondered how people decide how many books a story will require.

It’s always been a trilogy. I just kept seeing the complete story broken into three subsets so it was natural to make it three books. Looking back I can’t believe I chose to start my writing career with a series that required three books (not something I would suggest to others)!

4.       Were you thinking of the Secret Garden when you wrote this?
The Secret Garden was definitely an influence as I have loved the story since childhood.  My draft title when I first sat down to write Beckoning Light was “The Garden.”

5.       What were your favorite novels when you were a teenager?
I was really into the classics. I read a lot of Jane Austen, some classic fantasy like Tolkien and I really enjoyed any southern literature I could get my hands on. On the lighter side I loved reading mysteries, especially when they had a little bit of romance thrown in.

6.       Do you think you modeled your characters on real people?
Yes. The one character in particular where this happened is Kevin. He has a lot of my brother and my brother-in-law in him.  Also, Charlotte has a lot of me in her (minus the supernatural abilities of course :)).

7.       A friend has commented to me on how many YA novels start with absent parents. Do you have an opinion about this?
There is no question that the absentee parent has become a common element in YA books. I think the missing parent plays into the emotionally charged nature of the books. I was definitely cognizant of this when starting the series and questioned it, but the absence of Charlotte’s mother is an essential piece of the storyline.  The series wouldn’t be the same without it. 

Thank you for answering my questions Alyssa, and I wish you the best of luck with the trilogy. I have to say, I really like the new covers--can't wait to see the third!

For anyone wanting to read my reviews of Alyssa's books, click here for my review of Beckoning Light, and here for my review of Perilous Light.

And if you want to know more about Alyssa and her novels, here are some links:

Twitter: @alyssaroseivy


maryrussel said…
Another wonderful interview. Both books sound great.
Alyssa Rose Ivy said…
Thanks for having me on the blog!

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