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Interview with Alice Ivinya

She is a USA Today bestselling author. She is also an award-winning international and Barnes and Noble bestseller. She lives in Bristol, England. She is wife to Sam, mummy to their toddler, and owns the best dog in the world, Summer. 

She has loved fantasy all her life and her favorite author is Brandon Sanderson. When she's not off galavanting in other worlds, she loves walking the dog and spending time with her church family. Alice hopes to change the world for the better, one word at a time.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I am descended from a few British royals. King Edward III is my 21st great-grandfather twice over due to distance cousins marrying! I also have King Robert the Bruce of Scotland and Anne Plantagenet (sister of King Edward IV and Richard III) in my family tree too!

Q.2 What inspired you to write the Kingdom of Birds and Beasts series?
I absolutely love fairytales and as a child, I loved Grimm's fairytale The Goose Girl. After reading Shanon Hale's beautiful retelling a few years back, I decided to write my own. A lot of the storyline flowed from making a world where having talking horses was believable. I also wanted to write a story that showed no matter what has happened to you in the past, you can still determine your future.

Q. 3 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
Oh yes! I currently have three partially written stories I am hoping to release within the next year. All unrelated to each other, but too exciting to put on hold. One is about a young woman straying into a faerie and facing the kelpie who killed her husband (The Widow and the Beast). Another is a Hades and Persephone retelling. The third is a love story between a cinnamon roll girl and a grizzled commander.

I also have two finished short stories that are due to be released in July, one featuring two female dwarves who accidentally turn a fae Lord into a frog. This is in the charity anthology Enchanted Forests, where all the proceeds go to charity to aid rainforest conservation and protect the people who live in them. The other, Whispers of Ebony, is a novella sequel to Kingdom of Birds and Beasts. It's being published in an anthology Mythical Creatures, in July, then solo in October.

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I think the trickiest thing is staying away from unhelpful stereotypes, for example stopping their response being anger over grief, or making them quicker to violence.

Q.5 Do you plan out your books before you start writing, or do you just write and see where it takes you?
I have different approaches for different books. I often write out the key scenes, then go back and fill in the details between them. Sometimes, if I'm really into it, I write in order with a rough idea of what events I need to include.

Q.6 How long on average does it take you to write a book?
About 6-8 weeks to write the first draft, and 8-10 weeks to edit, including waiting for feedback from my editors.

Q.7 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I have written 10 full-length books, 7 of which are under the pen name Alice Ivinya. My favorite is Feathers of Snow as I love the world and the characters so much. However, I will always have a special place in my heart for The Flawed Princess, which was my first. I have also published 8 short stories, with another 2 coming out next month.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Go completely mad from all the characters shouting in my head, begging to be let out!

Q.9 If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead role?
If the Kingdom of Birds and Beasts trilogy was made into a film, I would love Emilia Clarke to play Brianna. I think she has a soft innocence about her, while also being able to come across as strong.

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
My marketing campaigns typically focus on Facebook. I am involved and active in a lot of reader groups and have built up a network of other indie authors and advertisers, who help me share and spread the word. Not only do I post in a lot of Facebook reader groups, but I also spread the word via Instagram and through various newsletters.

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
I would be a dragon shifter as I could fly, cover distance quickly, win battles, be hard to kill, yet also be able to blend in and be myself in mortal form.

Q.12 If you could invite one character to dinner from your books at home, who would it be and why?
I would have both Jude and Cardan from The Cruel Prince, as I could watch them interact all day! I love the whole hate-you-love-you vibe!

Q.13 What three things a reader can expect from your books?
All my books have in-depth world-building where my imagination runs wild. They are always clean but may have some dark themes. (I'm not averse to killing secondary characters.) However, I can guarantee a happy ending.

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your books, who is dear to you and why?
Falada from Feathers of Snow. Because I would do anything for a real-life philosophical talking horse. And Charity from Enchanted Melody because sometimes we all need the faith and trust of a child to learn how to heal.

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select them?
The Kingdom of Birds and Beasts Trilogy was designed by Elena Lawson. She's actually an author who designed the covers for herself but decided they didn't fit her theme (her books are a lot more mature) so sold them to me! I am very grateful to her for them as they are stunning.

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
I spend time thinking of the characteristics I want them to have, and then search for names that fit both by the sound of them, and by their meaning.

For example, the two main characters from Kingdom of Beasts are Brianna and Jian. Jian is pronounced JEE-yahn. It can mean 'strength', and is also a type of Chinese sword and a bird in Chinese mythology. As there are lots of mythical birds in my story, and Jian is a master at sword fighting, you can tell why I chose his name.

Brianna is Irish and means resolute and strong. As the trilogy is all about Brianna's journey from weakness to strength, I left like this suited her well!

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I do, I read everyone. Thankfully I am one tough cookie! I find both good and bad reviews very helpful when they explain what they liked and what they didn't. Though I can't please everyone, especially with the mixture of epic fantasy and romance in my books, it's helpful feedback that shapes my writing in the future.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. Tolkein
. I can't imagine a more interesting person to talk to! And if his books are anything to go by, I bet he could talk for hours about anything!

Q.19 Are there any new books or authors in science fiction or fantasy (or both!) have you excited about? What are you reading right now?
Oooh, so many. I'm loving Brandon Sanderson's new sci-fi series Starsight at the moment. I am also reading The War of Two Queens by Jennifer L. Armentrout since the emotions in that are so all-consuming, that I literally feel like I am Poppy!

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
Every year I get better as I learn what works for my readers, get quicker at writing, can afford more rounds of editing, and have read more books! I have loved every part of it! I am hoping to be a full-time author by the end of this year! (Balanced, of course, with being a mummy!)

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