Well, May has been wild here in the UK. From glorious sunshine, to torrential downpours in the span of minutes. We’re also within spitting distance of restrictions lifting, but another outbreak of a different variant in some cities is threatening our chance of freedom yet again. But things could be worse, and I’m still looking forward to being able to hug my dad again on Father’s Day, even if it’s been a little longer than expected.
This week, I had the absolute privilege of talking to Alice Ivinya, the USA Today bestselling author of Feathers of Snow and Silent Melody, as well as several other captivating fantasy and fairytale inspired novels for young adults. As a fellow Brit, Alice knows all about our crazy Spring weather!
Read on to see what we chatted about (aside from the weather, of course).
Hi Alice! It’s so lovely to speak to you, thanks for joining me. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in wet and soggy Bristol, UK, with my husband, toddler and dog (oh and an immortal goldfish). I have loved fantasy all my life. My favourite authors are Brandon Sanderson, Holly Black, Amy Harmon and Robert Jordan. When I’m not off gallivanting in other worlds, you can normally find me climbing trees with my young son, working as a small animal vet, hanging out with my church family, or walking the best dog in the world.
Wow, that sounds perfect – fantasy books, animals and family time, what more could you want? How old were you when you started writing, and who encouraged you?
I have written stories for as long as I can remember. My first book series was about a group of kids who ran away from home and became rulers of all the sharks in the sea. Worryingly they all got married at the age of 12-14, but that was old to my 8 year old self!
I wrote my first full length novel at 11. It was about a magician’s apprentice who was bad at magic.
Throughout my teenage years I wrote epic fantasy after epic fantasy that my poor parents had to read, even when they went over 200,000 words! As a child I was badly dyslexic and struggled with sentence structure and spelling to the extent that many of my early stories were illegible until I typed them up. It took me much longer than all the other children in my class to both write and type, but I just loved to write and have never been able to stop telling stories. Slowly, with the support of my parents and teachers, I developed techniques to get around my dyslexia and now it never holds me back.
I now have ten published full length books and four short stories.
That’s incredible, and so inspiring. It’s amazing that you’ve managed to overcome so many obstacles to become a bestselling author of more than ten published works so far. I want to be like you when I grow up! Do you have any favourite book tropes?
I love most tropes in fantasy as long as they’re not too depressing when delivered (I need all dark books to have a healthy dose of sarcastic humour!)! I love detailed, magical worlds and characters that make me see the world in a different way. I particularly like enemies to lovers, arranged marriage, and rags to riches.
Enemies to lovers is my number one favourite trope too, and I completely agree about dark books needing humour to balance it out. Tell us a little about your most recent release.
My most recent release was Feathers of Snow, a fairytale retelling of The Goose Girl. It is young adult, high fantasy with an arranged marriage troupe. All my writing is young adult and clean. Here is the blurb:
In Brianna’s new world of ice and snow, the coldest things by far are the eyes of her betrothed…
Brianna bears a deadly secret: she’s not the princess she is pretending to be. If the prince finds out, her life will be forfeit and her country plunged into war.
But there is more to the icy prince than meets the eye, and Brianna slowly unravels the secrets of his dark past while surviving in a strange culture.
However her goodness and wit will only get her so far. Terrifying beasts stalk the border and a murderer is at work in the town. They know the truth of Brianna’s identity and will stop at nothing to destroy all she has fought for.
That sounds absolutely captivating, and I can’t wait for book two, Feathers of Blood! Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
I have no idea. My characters sit in my head and tell me what they’re like and what to write. However, I am often inspired by people with perceived disabilities and try to reflect that in my writing.
It’s wonderful how diverse and inclusive your stories are, you’ve given a voice to so many people and let them see themselves in a book for possibly the first time. I especially love Violet in The Flawed Princess and the representation of club foot, it’s not something I’ve ever seen in a fictional character before, but we absolutely need to see more differently-abled people in stories. Do you consider yourself a plotter, pantser or plantser?
I’m a plantser, though it depends on the book. Sometimes I get a very clear idea of the plot all the way through, sometimes I have only a vague idea of where it is going. I normally write key scenes first that I can feel down to my bones, then link them together.
I was following a plan for the last bit of Enchanted Melody which is what I’m writing at the moment. Then, whoosh, a dragon appeared! Now I have to plan everything around the dragon haha!
Those pesky dragons do manage to sneak up on you don’t they! I’m probably a plantser too, I love plotting, but at some point you have to put the post-its down and start writing and see what comes out! What are you working on right now?
I am working on four projects currently:
1.) Enchanted Melody which is the sequel to my Pied Piper retelling, Silent Melody. I am currently writing the last bit of the first draft ready to send it to my developmental editor. Out June.
2.) Feathers of Blood. So much angst in this one! I’ve planned it out and written a lot of the key scenes, but need to start fleshing it out. Out September.
3.) Girls of Might and Magic anthology. I have had my short story accepted into this amazing anthology aiming to increase diversity in fantasy. Mine is about a girl with a stutter in an Asian-inspired fantasy world. I am currently waiting for the publisher’s edits to come back for my story.
4.) Enchanted Waters. I’m so excited to be part of this short story anthology featuring Heartless Melody, the prequel to Silent Melody. Every story features mythical water creatures and I’m working alongside some incredibly talented authors! All the proceeds are going to support ocean conservation.
Gosh, you’re a busy bee! I’m so excited for all your upcoming releases, especially Enchanted Waters! Before you go, what one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors?
My advice to authors who want to write fantasy is to read loads in your subgenre and keep writing. Never give up! Get as many fantasy lovers to read it as you can before you try to publish. Also start simple and master simple concepts in shorter books before your epic 12 book masterpiece!
Thank you so much for chatting with me Alice, it’s been so lovely getting to know you better and hearing about your projects and upcoming releases! Where can we find out more about you and your books?
Newsletter signup: https://sendfox.com/AliceIvinya
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sarahsfootsteps/
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AliceIvinya/
Follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19442133.Alice_Ivinya
Follow me on bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/alice-ivinya
If your TBR hasn’t doubled in size just from reading about Alice Ivinya’s stories, then I’m not sure we can be friends. If you’ve never read anything by Alice, I highly recommend heading straight over to Amazon and downloading a couple to your Kindle to dip your toe into, you will not regret it, I can guarantee!
Enchanted Waters will be out on 16 July and includes two wonderful stories by Alice (I’ve read them, they’re completely different styles, but both gripping and gorgeous), as well as my story Daughter of the Selkie King, so it’s a great place to try out new authors you may not have heard of before.
For just $2.99, you get ten beautiful fantasy tales, and you’ll be supporting Oceana, a nonprofit working to protect our ocean’s and marine life. There’s literally no downside!
Happy reading folks!