Looking for something new to read and short on money? You're in the right place, where I'll be featuring aspiring writers and their (free!) work!
Today we're meeting Christina Silva, author of fantasy adventure The Chronicles of Soraya Thenayu. I'm actually in the middle of reading this book right now and I'll tell you guys, it's so worth it. The world, the characters, the magic--it's all so cool and fun. I've been hooked since chapter one. Also, for the record, Christina does all the art included in this book and just look at the talent.
With her father's memory failing and her mother gone, Soraya Thenayu is enrolled in Darkwood Academy and has to learn to adapt to her new surroundings. Growing up in the desolate Averlore Mountains has taught her to be in independent and well read, but how will Soraya manage social pressures? Especially with carrying the secret that she's illegally in possession of magic?
Meet Christina and read an excerpt below!
Tell me a little bit about your writing journey. How long have you been writing, and how did you get started?
"I've been writing on and off for a few years by working on projects with other people, but this is the first time I've delved into creating my own story completely by myself. My Mom used to be an English teacher, so I've always loved reading every kind of genre that exists under the sun. She also homeschooled my brother and I and would make us write journals during the summer months. She'd often make our pages bleed with her red pen and tell us to rewrite them. If I wanted to have time to play outside before the sun set, I would have to quickly perfect my grammar. My brother and I like to say we learned to write while crying over our keyboards."
Why fantasy specifically? Is it something you write often, or is this your first venture into the genre?
"Although I've always loved reading fantasy, this is my first time actually writing and completing a story in this genre. It's a bit intimidating to make your own world and magic system and make sure all loose ends are explained, but it's also fun and challenging, like fitting together a puzzle and making sure all of the pieces are in the right places so the picture comes out clear and completed."
What are your goals for your writing?
"I hope to improve my writing abilities and see how far I can go with making characters that feel alive and descriptions that draw readers in. I also want to make sure the pacing of my story stays exciting and engaging."
What inspired The Chronicles of Soraya Thenayu?
"So many personal experiences, different family and friends that I've known throughout my life, and books I've read and animes I've watched have inspired Soraya Thenayu's journey. I've always wanted to try my hand at an overarching storyline littered with foreshadowing, so I'm going to give it my best shot and only improve from here."
Who is your favorite character in it and why? Tell me a little about them.
"Rhys Leyo is one of my favorite characters because he's a blended personality between of one of my best friends from high school and my lovely husband. Rhys is quiet, observant, incredibly intelligent, talented, and humble. He doesn't speak too much, but when he does, it's to the point and is backed up with logic. He also has a great sense of humor, and knows how to read the room and other people."
The world of the book is so well developed. What was the most challenging part of creating it?
"Thank you so much! I wanted Etheria to have a magic system that everyone had access to. The idea that someone is either born with the ability to use magic or they're not is quite overused, so I purposefully made magic into something that can be found in nature by anyone, used by anyone, and connects one with the elements. There is also a limit since once you use up the magic you've harvested, you have to search for more.
I don't want to get into too many spoilers, but I made the Etherian magic simpler to understand on purpose. There are technically two magic systems simultaneously existing within Etheria, and that will be revealed closer to the end of the first book."
Do you have anything else you'd like to say to the readers?
"I appreciate any and all feedback and critiques. I want to make sure that the flow and pacing of the story stays engaging, that the characters feel real and relatable, and the foreshadowing and reveals are exciting and make sense. Thank you for reading this and I hope you enjoy reading Soraya's journey."
“Does this have to do with your job?” Soraya’s sky blue eyes widened in excitement. Her father rarely talked about his work, and whenever he did he always told her that he’d explain more when she was older. Tishva nodded, “I can only teach you the basics of Arcanology right now, but I’ll show you more later on." With that he beckoned Soraya to come over with a wave of his hand. "I harvested some ice magic just now. There's still more left and I'd like to teach you how to take and use it." Her father took ahold of Soraya's right hand and tugged off the glove. He then gently guided her hand so it barely hovered over the rocks. "I want you to concentrate and imagine the blue etchings peeling off the rocks and attaching themselves to your skin.” Soraya stared hard at the designs that were left on the rocks and tried to do as her father had instructed. Luckily for her, she had a photographic memory which allowed for her to memorize just about anything she saw in an instant. After a few seconds of gazing at the ice magic on the rocks, the young girl closed her eyes and could see the spiderweb pattern clearly in her mind’s eye.
“Just imagine it moving onto my hand?”
“Yes.” Tishva nodded.
The young girl wished with all her might that the web would move onto her hand and believed it would do so just as it had done for her father. Suddenly, the ice magic lifted into the air and sunk into the palm of her hand. She jumped as she felt the cold kiss of ice on the inside of her hand and flashed her eyes open to see if it had worked. To her astonishment, Soraya found the light blue etchings had indeed formed web like pattern just below her fingers. The blue web like pattern was faded but still visible.
"I actually did it!" Soraya gasped and looked up at her father, who was beaming proudly at her.
"Well of course you did!" He smiled widely. "I wouldn't expect anything less, especially since you have such a vivid imagination. And that was the easy part."
She looked from her hand to her father in surprise. "The next part is harder?"
"Well, you have to learn the different ways for using the magic you took from the ground."
The young girl watched her father in fascination as he held up his pinky, middle, ring and pointer fingers on his right hand and placed them over his left shoulder. He then turned his torso to his right and flung his right arm as he curved his body. Ice magic flowed from his fingers and froze a large oak tree. Soraya was amazed as the tree instantly became covered in icicles that all pointed in the same direction. It looked like spiked fur blowing in the same direction in the wind.