The Medoran Chronicles Begin… With just one step, 16-year-old Alexandra Jennings's world changes"literally.
Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities.
Desperate to return home, she learns that only Professor Marselle can help her… but he's missing. While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora's boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can't ignore her fear that something unexpected…something sinister… is looming.
An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex's shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race's survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?
Will Alex risk her entire world... and maybe even her life – to save Medora?
Lynette Noni grew up on a farm in outback Australia until she moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast and swapped her mud-stained boots for sand-splashed flip-flops. She has always been an avid reader and most of her childhood was spent lost in daydreams of far-off places and magical worlds. She was devastated when her Hogwarts letter didn't arrive, but she consoled herself by looking inside every wardrobe she could find, and she's still determined to find her way to Narnia one day. While waiting for that to happen, she creates her own fantasy worlds and enjoys spending time with the characters she meets along the way. With a professional approach, a delightful attitude and bursting with novel ideas, Lynette Noni is currently the youngest author to be represented by Pantera Press and has been nominated for a Queensland Premier's Young Writers Fellowship.
Author: Lynette Noni
Interview with Lynette Noni
Question: How did you come up with the idea for Akarnae?
Lynette Noni: A few years ago I went through a dry season in books where it was like I knew what I wanted to read but I couldn't find anything that ticked all the boxes. I longed for a story that was full of adventure and intrigue, with characters who were so real that they were more like imaginary friends than just names on pages. I read book after book after book, but I simply couldn't find the perfect mix of what I was searching for. Frustrated and story-deprived, I found myself thinking, "Well, if I can't find it, why don't I try writing it?" So that's exactly what I did!
Question: Are the characters based on anyone you know?
Lynette Noni: Not anyone specifically"they're probably more based on people I wish I knew. They're like a creative indulgence. When I first began writing Akarnae I had just relocated and I didn't have many people left in my life. In all honesty, I was lonely! So as semi-crazy as it makes me sound, I think I created characters who I wanted to spend time with"fictional or not!
Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?
Lynette Noni: People fascinate me. Life fascinates me. Everyone has a story, and every story is precious. But that said, there's a reason why I write fiction, and fantasy-fiction at that. I love that I can write beyond reality; that I can create worlds filled with wonder. With just a few words I can make the impossible, possible. So while I'm sure the people I've met and the things I've experienced over the course of my life have influenced me in many important ways, very little of what I write about is (consciously) inspired by real events or people.
Question: There are several issues raised in this book. Was this deliberate or did the story evolve this way?
Lynette Noni: Truthfully, I was blown away by how this story developed. I'm not the kind of author who does much (*cough* any *cough*) planning before jumping straight into writing"I just let the story evolve naturally and the characters take me along for the ride with them. The 'issues' that come to life in this novel are a result of me trying to keep my characters as realistic as possible in a world that has very few 'normal' rules. A number of metaphors also developed unexpectedly along the way"some obvious, some hidden"and hopefully they will encourage readers to not only fall even more in love with Alex, her friends, and Medora, but also inspire people to learn, as Alex does, how to embrace the wonder of life and all it offers"the good and the bad.
Question: What is the best thing about creating a character like Alex?
Lynette Noni: As insane as it makes me sound, Alex really created herself. I don't have much control over her. (Hey, she is a teenager, remember?) In an early version of my manuscript, she was full of angst and very sullen for the first few chapters, but it got to a stage where she simply refused to stay in character"as ironic as that is. She was practically screaming at me to go back and change her to someone more likable and way less moody. I tried to force her into compliance, but it didn't work and I found myself unable to move the plot forward with her remaining as she was. So I begrudgingly redrafted her character and voilà! Everything flowed from there on out. Through all that, I learned a very important writing lesson: that I have to 'listen' to my characters and let them develop naturally. Now that Alex is who she wanted to be, I can honestly say that it is a delight to experience her adventures right alongside her; to share in her excitement and hold her hand through her trials. From page to page, she never ceases to amaze me with her strength, her integrity, her courage and her loyalty. She may be younger than I am, but as weird as it sounds, when I 'grow up' I want to be just like her!
Interview by Brooke Hunter