The Unicorn Riders Books 1 - 4
Unicorn Riders, Book 1: Quinn's Riddles
Quinn, Willow, Krystal and Ellabeth are Unicorn Riders - empowered to protect the land of Avamay. In this first adventure, the Riders must rescue Queen Heart's young son from his kidnappers. The abductors have left a trial of taunting riddles for the girls to follow - will Quinn be able to solve the riddles and lead the other Riders to the prince in time?
Unicorn Riders, Book 2: Willow's Challenge
Quinn, Willow, Krystal and Ellabeth are Unicorn Riders - empowered to protect the land of Avamay. Head Rider, Willow, must confront her past when the Unicorn Riders are summoned to the town of Arlen. Her Uncle Gildenfair, who Willow hasn't spoken too for many years, is ill and needs a healing elixir that only the Riders can provide. When Arlen is besieged by a neighbouring Lord's army, the Riders and their unicorns must help the townspeople defend the city. Can Willow find the courage to forgive her uncle for past wrongs and help him save Arlen?
Unicorn Riders, Book 3: Krystal's Choice
Quinn, Willow, Krystal and Ellabeth are Unicorn Riders - empowered to protect the land of Avamay. Children have been disappearing in the town of Miramar. Queen Heart sends Krystal and the other Unicorn Riders to investigate. But Krystal is struggling with her role as a Rider - is this what she really wants to be for the rest of her life? When she is approached by the leader of a group of entertainers who offers her a life of glamour, fun and adoration, Krystal must make a choice - will she give up being a Rider? And will her decision put the other Riders and their mission to save the missing children in jeopardy?
Unicorn Riders, Book 4: Ellabeth's Test
Quinn, Willow, Krystal and Ellabeth are Unicorn Riders - empowered to protect the land of Avamay. When Willow is injured, Ellabeth must step into the role of Head Rider and lead the Unicorn Riders on their next adventure. The girls must race to the home of the mysterious Dakkar Serpent in order to collect some of its diamond scales. But the mission proves to be more perilous than they thought it would be. Will Ellabeth be able to put her pride aside in order to complete the mission?
Aleesah Darlison writes picture books and novels for children and reviews books for The Sun Herald. Aleesah has always loved unicorns and as a child she has collected unicorn figurines. Writing the The Unicorn Riders series has been a dream of Aleesah's for a long time and she is excited for modern readers fall in love with unicorns too. When Aleesah isn't chasing her writing rainbow, she's usually looking after her three very energetic children and her two dogs, Buck and Floyd.
Jill Brailsford was born in England and moved to Australia in as a young girl. She studied art and design after leaving school and has been illustrating on and off in between lots of part-time jobs including café cook, flower picker and stained glass window painter.
Author: Aleesah Darlison
Illustrator: Jill Brailsford
Interview with Aleesah Darlison
Question: What inspired you to create The Unicorn Riders?
Aleesah Darlison: I adored unicorns as a child and collected figurines, paintings, pens, stickers, toys. Anything to do with unicorns, I collected! I thought they were so beautiful, so mystical and magical. I often wished unicorns were real and that I could find one to keep for my own. Now I'm grown up, I still have a penchant for unicorns. Creating the unicorns in my books: Estrella, Obecky, Fayza and Ula, and building them into my stories was one way I could make unicorns real.
Question: What do you enjoy most about writing for children?
Aleesah Darlison: I love making kids laugh or feel or think when they read my stories. My aim is to have readers connect with my characters so they come alive for them, as if they're real. Receiving fan mail is an absolute delight. It's fantastic when someone sends me an email or a drawing of one of the characters in my books. As an author, I find that kind of feedback so special. It tells me I'm doing something right.
Question: What is the best thing about creating a characters like Quinn, Willow, Krystal and Ellabeth?
Aleesah Darlison: I've had so much fun creating the Unicorn Riders, the entire process has been a joy. I spent hours choosing the Riders' names, designing their uniforms, working out what their unicorns looked like and what their magical abilities would be, what their world looked like. I even drew the characters and created maps. Because Unicorn Riders is a fantasy adventure series, I was able to be as creative and imaginative as I wanted to be. As well, I always wanted the girls to be strong and independent. I wanted them to be empowered, capable of defending their country, supporting each other and making their own decisions. Empowering girls to be the best they can be, to believe in themselves and achieve their dreams, is very important. I hope readers can see this and apply my characters' strengths to their own real-world situations.
Question: Which of the children in the book do you like the most? Which one is most like you?
Aleesah Darlison: I love all my girls! I couldn't possibly choose between them because each one is unique and talented in their own way. Willow is the capable and fair leader, everyone loves and respects her, but sometimes she faces challenges she fears she can't overcome. Quinn is small for her age and has had a tough upbringing, but she's clever and gentle and generous despite it all. Ellabeth is feisty and courageous, but sometimes she rushes in or says things she shouldn't. Krystal is beautiful and intelligent, but can occasionally be a self-absorbed. There are tiny pieces of me, and tiny pieces of people in my life, who are woven into each of the girls. Hopefully, readers see pieces of themselves in the characters, too.
Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?
Aleesah Darlison: I'm always scooping up ideas from the world around me. Sometimes, I find inspiration from things that have happened to me in the past (both good and bad). Sometimes, I find inspiration in the things my children, my family or my friends do or say. I do loads of school visits and writing workshops so I'm always meeting children who inspire me with funny or interesting things they tell me. I'm like a bower bird in that respect, always collecting little tidbits and saving them for when I might need them.
Interview by Brooke Hunter