Every book is a collaboration. I work with editors, cover artists, and the publishers in so many ways behind the scenes. A few years ago, I got to collaborate in a different way. This time it was with a local illustrator, Aaron Siddall. He had an idea for a YA steampunk story. He would illustrate it and I would write it. We created a world of magic and mysterious creatures, and the book was released on November 14, 2018 from CHBB Publishing. *Hold for applause, wink wink.*
I would like to introduce Aaron Siddall to all of you. We met years ago when I joined the Utica Writers Club.
JE: When did you join the Utica Writers Club? What do you like most about it?
AS: The Utica Writers Club and I came together in 2010. I do write and occasionally read from things that I am working on, but I mostly attend for the creative energy. That and I find that writers make for excellent friends.
JE: How long have you been an illustrator?
AS: I’ve had a passion for art all of my life, but I had my first professional experience as an illustrator in 2001 working for Kenzer & Company and White Wolf Studios, both as a freelancer.
JE: What are some of the projects you’ve illustrated?
AS: Its hard to narrow down to favorites. But several stand out, such as; High Towers and Strong Places: A Political History of Middle Earth by Tim Furnish and published by Oloris Publishing. How Robin Hood Became an Outlaw by Learning A-Z. Ravenloft Denizens of Darkness by White Wolf Studios.
JE: How did you come up with the idea for FANYA?
AS: In a discussion concerning Steampunk and Fairy tales that I was involved with, I compared elements from both in relation to our world in the late 1800s (the Victorian era). In doing so, Russia and Alaska at the time were in the midst of tumultuous times, as there are many marvelous Russian Fairy Tales and the legends of the First Nations have many similar legends, these elements came together naturally in my mind.
JE: How did you come up with the title?
AS: Fanya is a name that shows up in both Russian and Inuit and Aleut peoples.
JE: What do you hope people take away from FANYA IN THE UNDERWORLD?
AS: Overall, I hope that people enjoy the action and magic of the setting. There is a great deal to think on and enjoy.
JE: What is your favorite illustration from the book?
AS: The one of Mr. Beisy on the doorstep in chapter two.
We hope you enjoy reading FANYA IN THE UNDERWORLD. Reviews and emails are always appreciated. If you love the artwork as much as I do, merchandise is available here.
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Fanya in the Underworld, by Jordan Elizabeth, is a delightful futuristic steampunkish adventure with spirits instead of steam. Filled with unusual creatures and mechanical devices from beyond the depths of imagination, this story is filled with surprises. Illustrations by Aaron Siddall help bring Elizabeth’s fascinating mechanisms to life, creating a unique journey into the imagination.
Fanya lives in an Alaska with spirits and unusual mechanical companions and servants all around her. She never gives either much thought until her father dies and the Council allows her inheritance to go to her step-mother, leaving she and her sister, Luetkea, to live in poverty. Fanya fights to get back what is rightfully hers and finds that there are things going on in the world around her of which she is unaware, which go beyond the Council to a mytsterious man named Finley. The deeper she digs into the situation, the more she learns about who she really is, and the harder Finley pushes to stop her from learning the truth. When Finley abducts her sister, Fanya will stop at nothing to get her back and take her rightful place in the scheme of things.
Gripping from the first pages, Fanya in the Underworld is a hero’s journey about growing up and discovery. Aimed at Y.A. readers, it’s entertaining for all ages. I give it five quills.
Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.