Interview: Ingrid Alexandra, Australian author

Gifted

Today I’m interviewing fellow Turquoise Morning Press author and Australian, Ingrid Alexandra, about her debut novel, paranormal young adult GIFTED.

Gifted came out on 27 December. Did you squee more that day, or on Christmas morning when you saw Santa had been?

That question made me giggle. Of course I ‘squee-ed’ more on December 27th! It felt like all my Christmases had come at once, if you’ll pardon the cliché! But I was pretty stoked seeing Santa had been, too. 😉

How would Lucy, your main character, describe her greatest strength and her greatest weakness? And would you agree with her?

That’s an interesting question. Strangely enough, Lucy’s greatest weakness was what eventually became her greatest strength. Lucy lacked self-belief and allowed herself to be governed by fear. It was overcoming that fear and believing in herself that became her greatest strength. Sorry, you asked what Lucy would say. Well, I think that’s what she’d say – and I’d agree with her. 😉

And what about Heath Stone? (What a great name, by the way.)

Thank you! Heath’s weakness, by his own admission, was Lucy. But that’s secondary to the real issue. On a deeper level, Heath was afraid to pursue something he believed would be too complicated and potentially dangerous. But he grew to understand that the greatest things in life often require the greatest risks and so, similarly to Lucy I suppose, the characteristics that could be construed as weaknesses were, in the end, transformed to strengths. Both characters had the courage to overcome adversity, to challenge their innermost fears and take a flying leap of faith in to the unknown!

Tell us about Duruga. Did you create it for your story?

I’m so glad you asked! Duruga is a place close to my heart. Although I won’t reveal the ‘real’ location, I will say that the descriptions in the novel are based on a real place where I am privileged to spend much of my leisure time. It really is a little piece of paradise!

Music seems to have played a strong role in your life. Do you think that has affected the story you wrote?

You’ve done your homework! 😉 (I didn’t get a cyberstalking award during PitchWars for nothing!) I had to think about that question quite a bit, actually. I suppose, indirectly, my love of music influences the way I express myself in my own art.  All creative art forms share a common link in that they are based on the creation and expression of a concept, story or feeling, but I don’t think that in this case there is a direct link between music and how GIFTED was created. A great question, though. Food for thought. 🙂

What has been the most surprising thing about your publication journey so far?

Wow, to pick only one…?! 😉 Hmm. Aside from all the incredible people I’ve met along the way and the support network I’m privileged to have attained, I suppose I’d have to say I was most surprised by my own resilience. I didn’t think I had very thick skin (I’m a sensitive soul!), but it turns out thick skin can be grown. 😉 I faced countless rejections in various forms in my journey towards publication, but I truly surprised myself that I was able to pick myself up, dust myself off and try again. It’s been said so many times, but believing in yourself is vital. I recall, even at my weakest moments when I doubted myself and my ability, I never stopped believing that I could do this and that my dream would be realised. It wasn’t easy. But courage is being afraid, being uncertain of something, and doing it anyway.

In dark times that belief is what drove me, what got me out of bed in the morning, what gave me something to live for. Dreams are essential. Don’t let anyone tell you they’re wrong, or just a fantasy or that you could be doing something better with your life. I believe it is unfailing passion, dedication and self-belief that will win you your dreams in the end, whatever they be. 🙂 But self-belief is the single most irreplaceable ingredient. Without it, you set yourself up for failure.

Cassandra, I’d just like to thank you for this opportunity to discuss my story and my characters with you and for your insightful, thoughtful questions. 🙂 (Aww. Thanks for dropping by!)

Lucy Jones possesses an unusual—and extraordinary—gift. Her ability to sense the emotions of others is both a blessing and a curse, eventually driving her to seek refuge from its consequences by fleeing her hometown of Sydney.

The coastal town of Duruga is everything she imagined it would be: sleepy, isolated and void of the emotional chaos that plagued her in the city. But when the mysterious Heath Stone enters her life, Lucy is overwhelmed by startling sensations in his presence. Frightened and intrigued by this uncommon reaction to a person, Lucy is uncontrollably drawn to Heath. Despite her efforts, and the sinister warnings from the townsfolk, she cannot fight the force of her attraction.

When strange events begin to occur and the truth about Duruga’s sordid history is unveiled, Lucy suspects that there may be more to the quiet town, and to Heath, than she had first imagined.

As Lucy and Heath’s fates become irrevocably entwined, the answers Lucy has been seeking all her life may be closer than she ever wanted to believe.

Excerpt

Gripping the steering wheel, my eyes slammed shut and I sat for several seconds with my heart pounding in my ears. My breath came out in gasps, my lungs constricting in anxiety. Images, dotted with light beneath my eyelids, teased me with things I wasn’t sure I’d seen. The vision of a ghostly, young man’s face, so alarmingly handsome and with eyes of such intense green I wondered if they could be real. I dug the heels of my hands into my eyes, trying to see clearly, though the headlights provided a limited view of the shadowy world outside the car.

The road was deserted.

I shook my head, blinking to make sure I was seeing right. What the hell just happened? Was I hallucinating? If someone had been there, where was he now?

And, my conscience taunted, what might have happened if he hadn’t been there to stop you?

A tingle ran down my spine and I tensed, on alert. Someone was out there. I knew because I could sense him. Nearby. He had to be there for me to feel the strange, weaving warmth, the rapid pulse in my veins. And sadness, so deep and powerful I clutched my chest against a sob.

GIFTED is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Ingrid Alexandra

Ingrid Alexandra has been writing since she could put pen to paper. Growing up, she took pleasure in learning musical instruments, visual arts, dance, acting, singing and, of course, she spent a great deal of time reading and writing. Having so many interests meant her career aspirations had a habit of changing, but her profession eventually chose her.

She dabbled in writing short stories and novellas as a child and teen, and began writing full-length novels in recent years. Being a child at heart, it was a natural progression for her to move in to writing fiction for children and young adults. Her love of teaching and interest in human emotion and psychology play a large role in the creation of her novels.

You can find Ingrid at her website or on Twitter.

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