1. What author inspired you most to begin writing?
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy awakened a part of my brain I didn‘t know existed. I was fifty years old when I first read The Lord of the Rings, and I’d never read anything like it before. If not for Tolkien, I probably would have never written a novel, much less an award-winning epic fantasy series.
2. Everyone has that one person who believes in them. Who was your personal cheerleader?
I’d have to say my mom. As a mother of five children, she performed her real-world, left-brain duties well (working, parenting, housework, etc.) but when she finally embraced acting, something she had always wanted to do, she proved that the left brain part of our selves truly does need the right brain in order to make us whole. She not only helped establish a very successful community theater that is now in its 42nd year, but also became an award winning actress. She is now 83 years old and is still actively involved in the theater. Mom always believed in and encouraged her children’s creative interests and endeavors, even before she realized her own.
3. If you had one, what would your own personal motto be?
It’s not what you buy that you’ll take with you, it’s what you create.
4. Have you ever had a book change your perspective on anything?
Again, I’d have to say Lord of the Rings. It made me realize magic is all around us.
5. Do you prefer silence or music, or perhaps just some white noise in the background, while you write?
It depends. I frequently listen to music when I’m working scenes in my head, or trying to piece together story ideas. When I’m writing, music can either enhance or interrupt my thoughts, so sometimes it’s on, sometimes it’s not. I listen to mostly instrumentals, movie soundtracks, new age, classics, that sort of thing. Occasionally a song with vocals inspires me in regard to a character, but more often than not, the story the singer is telling is not the one I’m working on, so I pretty much stick with instrumentals.
6. Do you have other works besides the Souls of Aredyrah series, finished or otherwise?
I recently finished the first novel in a new fantasy series. The series is called The Veils of Lore, and has ties to Aredyrah, but it’s a stand-alone series so reading Souls is not required. Book One is currently in the hands of beta readers.
7. How did you decide on the cover art for each book in the series?
I love fantasy art and had in my head what I wanted the covers to look like. I don’t really care for photos and symbols on book covers, but prefer rich illustrations that convey an aspect of the story and/or characters that have readers appreciating the covers themselves. I found the artist, Annah Hutchings, online and asked if she’d be interested in doing the cover for The Fire and the Light. She said she’d never done a book cover before, but was anxious to do so. I sent her a description of the characters, the scene I had in mind, colors, small details, setting, etc. I’ve never met Annah in person, she lives in England, but we corresponded back and forth by way of emails and attachments, and she was lovely to work with. She has since illustrated all of the covers in the series, and I think they all turned out beautifully. I’ve received many compliments on them.
8. Do any of your characters reflect someone in your personal life?
Not intentionally, but I do see some aspects of Reiv’s personality in my son. I don’t know if my son would agree with that, though!
9. If there was one thing, anything, you could do different, would you?
In regard to the series, I think I would have tried harder to find an agent. If the series had been picked up by a reputable publisher, I’m sure their editing and marketing departments would have made the books even better, plus it would have given the series a better chance of financial success. Publishing Souls myself has been a wonderful experience, but I’m ready to turn over the reins, so plan to shop for an agent for The Veils of Lore. With luck, a publisher will take interest in it. Fingers crossed!
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Series: Souls of Aredyrah
About the Series
Game of Thrones meets Narnia in this epic tale of two boys whose chance meeting leads them to a disturbing discovery: Not only are they bound by blood and prophecy, but their opposing beliefs are founded on similar lies. With adventure and romance, mysticism and cultural conflicts, this coming-of-age tales asks: What would you do if you learned everything you’ve been raised to believe is false—and those in power will do anything to stop the truth?
In the world of Aredyrah, things are not what they seem. An ancient Purge has plunged the island into darkness, isolating its cultures by superstition and fear. Dayn lives in the northernmost region of Kirador and knows nothing of the great city-state of Tearia far to the south. All he knows is the Kiradyns are the only survivors of a god’s fiery wrath, and he looks nothing like them. Meanwhile Ruairi, a prince destined for greatness, resents his Tearian obligations, longing for a life he can never hope to have. But when tragedy takes his beauty as well as his name, he finds himself exiled by the very beliefs he once held dear. Both boys long for acceptance in societies that cling to religious ideals, but when fate throws them together, Dayn and Ruairi discover some unwelcome truths: not only are they bound by blood and prophecy, but the teachings they have been raised on are nothing more than lies. Will they reveal what they have learned, risking their lives and the security of those they love? Or will they keep silent, denying their destinies and the future enlightenment of their world?
The Prophecy has come to life in Tearia, and the Temple wants nothing more than to see it dead. Whispers say the Unnamed One walks amongst them, and there is little doubt as to who that person is. Reiv is oblivious to the hopes turning in his direction, just as he is ignorant of a plot being waged against him. He has no time for rumors or innuendos; he is too busy trying to build a new life for himself. But the life he longs for will have to wait. A rebel movement is growing, and Reiv’s cousin Dayn has joined the insurgents in their cause.
Angered by Dayn’s involvement, Reiv reverts to his old self-serving behaviors. He wants nothing to do with prophecies or rebellions, and isn’t sure he wants anything to do with Dayn either. But when tragedy throws Reiv into new turmoil, he finds himself facing a dangerous choice. Someone he loves is dying, and there is only one chance to save him.
Will Reiv choose to be a Transcendor, fated to sacrifice his life for another? Or is he truly the Unnamed One, a hero destined for glory? One will save the life of an individual, the other that of an entire kingdom.
The saga of Aredyrah continues as Dayn and Alicine return to Kirador to find things very different from when they left. Their house has been ransacked, their parents missing, and evidence of spell work has put a price on Dayn’s head. Frightened, they go to the nearest place they know of: the homestead of Haskel, a man who has never been accepting of Dayn’s differences, and even less so of his own son’s.
Back in Tearia, Reiv has settled into the quiet life of a Shell Seeker. But while the rhythm of his routine is calm, the longings of his heart are not. He turns to Cora, an eye-catching girl who has also drawn the attentions of Lyal, a man whose hatred of Reiv goes far beyond jealously. But romance is the least of Reiv’s worries. A terrible plague is spreading, and Reiv’s brother, the King, is determined to burn it from the land—even if it means killing innocents along the way.
While Reiv risks annihilation by Tearia’s increasingly brutal king, Dayn suffers challenges of his own. His disappearance from Kirador months before not only ended the existence he once knew, but started a witch hunt that threatens his safety and the survival of his clan.
Both Dayn and Reiv find themselves facing a difficult choice: Leave their homelands in order to save themselves and those they love, or stay and fight an evil they cannot hope to defeat.
In this final installment of the award-winning Souls of Aredyrah series, Dayn and Reiv find themselves facing an old foe and falling into the trap of a new one. Struggling to make their way home through a bitter landscape, they soon discover they are not alone. A tribe known as the Taubastets has captured them in a life-or-death scenario, and the tribe’s chief is determined that one of them must be sacrificed. When a young warrior named Tyym vows to see them home, they face decisions that will not only affect their survival, but the spiritual salvation of their world.
While Reiv, Dayn, and Tyym navigate a web of conspiracy and doubt, Dayn’s sister Alicine struggles with loss and the impending threat of invasion. The king of Tearia has not abandoned his quest to slay them, and his seemingly unstoppable army is nearly through the pass. But when Tyym enters the scene, hope is rekindled. Even Alicine cannot deny the charisma of the mysterious warrior who has wormed his way into their lives, and into her heart.
The game is in play. A traitor is in their midst. Can the souls of Aredyrah hope to defeat a monster disguised as a king? Or will they succumb to a darkness beyond their understanding?
Tracy A. Akers is a former language arts teacher and an award-winning author. She grew up in Arlington, Texas, but currently lives in Florida with her husband, three naughty pugs, and a feisty chihuahua. She graduated with honors from the University of South Florida with a degree in Education, and has taught in both public and private schools. She currently divides her time between writing, lecturing, spending time with her family, and costuming at fantasy and science fiction conventions.
Ms. Akers has won numerous awards for her Souls of Aredyrah fantasy series for young adults. As a Florida Book Awards winner, she was acknowledged for her contribution to YA literature by the Governor of Florida during the 2008 Florida Heritage Month Awards Ceremony. Books One and Two of the Aredyrah Series are included in the Florida Department of Education’s 2008 Just Read Families Recommended Summer Reading List. In addition, Ms. Akers has been an invited guest author at major book events and writers’ conferences, a panelist at fantasy and science fiction conventions, and was on the steering committee for Celebration of the Story, a literary event held at Saint Leo University.
The Souls of Aredyrah Series is Ms. Akers’ first series of novels for young adults.
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