I’m thrilled to be part of Walker Books’ blog tour promoting a brand new Australian addition to the YA fantasy market – ‘Nymph’ (The Love Oracles #1) by Tonya Alexandra! So please join me in warmly welcoming Tonya to the blog!
An idyllic Greek island. Obsessed demigods. A fallen nymph. A mortal boy.
Merope, a beautiful but faded star nymph, is banished to Earth for displeasing the gods. She tries to fit in, go to school and live a normal “human” life. And then she meets Lukas… but relationships between men and goddesses are forbidden. Will their love grow? Or will Merope and Lukas feel the wrath of the gods?
Q: The Young Adult fiction market in the US is positively overflowing with new authors and books. How would you compare the Australian market and your experience as a new Australian YA author?
It is a struggle being an author of any genre, in any country. With new technology meaning anybody can publish a book it is difficult finding an audience. It’s a good and bad thing for the reader – good because it gives readers more selection, but bad because you can feel swamped by choice and its difficult finding the quality writing you’re after. Editing is an integral part of the book making process and many works going up online are not edited. But I’m all for lots of authors – it leads to lots of readers!
Q: ‘Nymph’ is your debut novel – and it has a stunning cover! Describe to us the cover art process from the view of an author.
The cover of ‘Nymph’ was totally up to the publishers. I have been sending them pictures of beautiful red headed girls and gorgeous male models (not the most painful part of my job!) But that’s as much control as I have (and need to have) – they know what they’re doing!
The illustration for ‘Nymph’is by an amazing Spanish artist living in London, Alejandro Colucci. You can see more of his drawings at: www.epicaprima.com. He is currently illustrating the cover of Book 3, ‘The Darkness Beneath’. And I’m told the girls in the Walker office have heated debates over ‘shirt on or shirt off?’ for Heracles and Lukas.
Q: What unique elements does ‘Nymph’ bring to table for the gods/goddesses genre in Young Adult fiction?
To be honest I haven’t read any gods/goddesses in YA so that’s a difficult one. I hadn’t even heard of Percy Jackson when I started ‘Nymph’! I try not to read things that could be too similar because it messes with my imaginings of what the gods and goddesses should be like. I’ve based my characterisations from my reading of classic greek myths, rather than modern author’s interpretations.
But if I had to take a stab at it I would say, aside from the fact I don’t think a nymph has been the protagonist of a series like this (I could be wrong) I think ‘Nymph’ is a great mix of romance, mythology references and comedy. It’s a light read, where you learn about mythology effortlessly and have a laugh at Merope and Heracles trying to figure out the modern world.
There are a lot of themes addressed in the series that other romances skip. For example, Merope learns about real love, like the love between a grandson and a grandmother; she learns it’s okay to love someone different to yourself, you don’t need friends/family approval; and throughout the journey she becomes quite the feminist, rejecting her former role as a subservient nymph.
Q: What are your biggest dreams and aspirations regarding ‘Nymph’ and ‘The Love Oracles’ series in general?
I want readers to adore it and want to hear more from me. In other words, I want to sell enough copies so I can go on being an author. I feel like I’ve finally found the space where I am truly happy. Naturally, I want a Hollywood TV series too ;-) Who do you think should play Lukas?
Q: Who are some of your favourite Australian YA authors? Have you had the pleasure to meet any of them and compare notes?
I am part of the CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) and I’ve met some great authors but most of them are children’s book writers. Kate Forsyth is in our group – she’s as sweet as pie, I love her ‘Bitter Greens’ and ‘The Wild Girl’.I’m also looking forward to doing a presentation with Sulari Gentill at the Snowy Mountains Writers Festival. Our books are both based around Greek Mythology tales – her ‘Hero’ trilogy is exceptional.
I’m also a big fan of Jessica Shirvington, although I’ve never met her. I actually enjoyed ‘Between the Lives’, more than Violet Eden. I’ve met Markus Zusak too but it was kind of hard to concentrate on what he was saying with him smiling like he does …
Q: How important is it to you to connect with your readers via social media? Do you think it benefits the author and the reading experience? If so, how?
I love, love, love this aspect! Writing is a lonely task and knowing that someone is actually enjoying what you’ve written, and has feelings towards your characters is the best part of the process. It’s great holding the book in your hands, but knowing it has touched someone’s heart is better.
So contact me! Twitter.com/tonya_alexandra or facebook.com/loveoracles
I’ve also started an Instagram account from Merope’s POV, documenting the strange mortal things she encounters. It’s a way of keeping me ‘in character’ during the years I’ll be creating the series. I’d love readers to join in and post mortal madness they witness. Instagram.com/MeropeOnEarth or #loveoracles
Visit Tonya Alexandra
Thank you so much to both Tonya and Walker Books If you want to check out the other stops on the Nymph blog tour, you can do so by following up on these links:
Tonya Alexandra ‘Nymph’ Blog Tour: Other Stops
March 17th Happy Indulgence
March 18th Nice Girls Read Books (YOU ARE HERE!)
March 19th Treasures Tales for Young Adults
March 20th Thoughts By J
March 21st WhY.A.not?
March 22nd Inside My Worlds: R.L. Sharpe
March 23rd Diva Book Nerd
March 24th The Bookish Manicurist