Alright guys, I’m really excited for this post! I got the chance to chat with the hilarious Lynette Noni, author of Akarnae. I actually just reviewed Akarnae recently, and gave it a five out of five star rating. If you don’t remember, Akarnae is a Young Adult fantasy novel that follows the adventures of Alex Jennings and her friends Bear and Jordan as they explore the wonders and dangers that Akarnae Academy has to offer. Think the whimsical nostalgia of a Harry Potter book mixed with the action and adventure of the Chronicles of Narnia. Yeah, it’s that good. With that said, let’s jump on in to the interview!
Me: What inspired you to write ‘Akarnae’?
LN: I went through a bit of a ‘dry spell’ in reading a few years ago when I was after a specific kind of book but just couldn’t find it anywhere. I found elements of it, sure, but not all together in the one single story. I was after a main character who was strong but vulnerable, smart and funny, but also flawed. I wanted her to be real—and I wanted her to experience the value of true friendship, not romantic insta-love (as the craze was at that time). I also wanted there to be a fantasy world that would linger in my mind for days after I’d finished reading. I wanted there to be a special kind of magic, a different kind of ‘bad guy’, and the undercurrent of metaphorical messages, if only you wanted to look for them. Basically, I wanted a book that was the perfect escape. Since I couldn’t find it, I decided to try and write it—and ‘Akarnae’ is the result of that!
Me: Would you want to live in Medora?
LN: Is this a trick question? WHERE CAN I SIGN UP?!
Haha, seriously though, I would definitely want to live there. That said, Medora is not without its own dangers—dangers that you get a taste of in ‘Akarnae’, and they only become stronger as the rest of the series continues. It may not (yet) be quite as ruthless as Panem (that’s referencing The Hunger Games for anyone outside of the YA-savvy-sphere), but that doesn’t mean things aren’t about to heat up for Alex and her friends.
But regardless, if given the choice, I would still definitely like to visit!
Me: If you could have a gift, what would you want it to be?
LN: I’ve always wanted to be able to fly. The idea of soaring through the clouds and riding on the air currents just seems like it would be so completely freeing, don’t you think? *Wistful sigh*.
Me: Any news on the sequel?
LN: The good news is, it’s finished! The not-so-good news is that I still have to go through the professional editing process before we can get a better idea of a release date. But it will be out sometime within the next twelve months, so stay tuned for more details!
Me: Who/what are some of your influences as an author?
LN: Hmm. This is a tricky one. The obvious answers are the notable authors who have penned my all-time favourite books (J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis, etc.). My brother is also definitely an inspiration, since it was his dream to be an author way before I ever considered trying my hand at writing.
Otherwise, my influences tend to come from what I experience, especially if I read a particularly good book, watch an incredibly imaginative movie, or see something magical in my everyday life. Those moments of wonder tend to stick with me, almost begging me to channel my inner creativity and at least attempt to inspire the same kind of wonder in others.
Me: What are some of your favorite books?
LN: This is always a hard question because I’m such an avid reader and I have enjoyed soooooo many wonderful books, especially in recent years. The obvious ones are Harry Potter and Narnia, along with all the currently trending books like Divergent, The Hunger Games and the Throne of Glass series. I’m pretty much a sucker for any good YA read, really. But I also love high fantasy from time to time, like Kristen Britain’s Green Rider series, Raymond E. Feist’s Magician, Juliette Marillier’s Sevenwaters books, and anything by Karen Hancock—especially her Legends of the Guardian King series. Then there are my indulgent reads, like The Tiger Saga by Colleen Houck, and also The Juliette Chronicles (commonly known as the Shatter Me series) by Tahereh Mafi—which I absolutely adore and can happily re-read over and over again. Oh, and I can’t forget Maria V. Snyder! Her Poison Study series is amazing, and so is her Glass series, too. I’ve only read the first of her Healer books (it was awesome!), but the second and third are waiting on my (huge) pile of TBR books.
I could go on and on (I didn’t even begin to list some of my favourite YA and NA contemporary reads!), but these are just a few of my favs and I’ll stop here before I go too fan-girl-crazy on you.