post by: Ava Reiss
As an author, I’m often asked, “Why’d you start writing?” or “What was your inspiration?” That question could be answered many ways. Yet I think I’ll defer to a fortune cookie fortune I received in 2014. It felt like kismet.
“A book should be a ball of light in the reader’s hands.”
It’s true. Some days when we’re dragged down by a long day, pecking at social media just doesn’t cure the blues. Sometimes we need a dose of the fantastical, something to sweep our minds away from the world of reality. If you’re like me, you love nothing more than the companionship of a good novel. Well-crafted characters share their deepest, darkest secrets. At times even validating less than noble thoughts and desires, but all kept as a cozy secret, between you and the pages. There’s nothing better to act as a lighthouse in the sea of stormy moods after a bad day.
Other times, we read to expand our understanding of the world. Tales act as a foundation in relating to one another. If a friend were to complain about a situation, I may be remiss on what’s truly troubling him or her. In a well-crafted story, an author can illuminate the situation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “This book totally gets what I went through!”
Yet, could I write something so enlightening? What do I consider a “ball of light?” What is my greatest darkness? That question led me to ponder what I feared most. In the end… I discovered, it was “the end”: Death. (sorry, too heavy?)
A Buddhist proverb quickly came to mind: “To live is to suffer.” Perhaps dying wasn’t so bad?
… But what if it isn’t the end? Reincarnation is tossed around in quite a few religions. One could argue it’s a deterrent from being too much of a jerk while alive. If karma was proven to exist, everyone would be a heck of a lot nicer.
What if death is feared because we aren’t certain if we need to pay the price of our deeds on the other side?
I don’t have answers to any of these questions. I don’t consider myself religious, perhaps a little superstitious. But… the thought of living again and again with consequences and blessings from a previous life (or lives), intrigued me. Could I take the foreboding of mortality and give it some hope, even if it’s merely on pages of a book?
I referred back to my fortune cookie fortune. I held it tenderly in my hand, as I ruminated. Another question arose. This one with comfort, “What if this life isn’t the only one? What if we can bask in the beauty of another existence after this?”
Thus, I started my novel, Fall of Ima, the first in my Cycles of the Lights series. In the prologue, I paid homage to my fortune cookie. I spoke of a sphere of light becoming sentient. In its interactions with the endless womb of darkness, it realized it wanted to become “alive.” En and Il are the protagonist souls, spawned from the primordial sphere of light and the darkness surrounding it. (I know! Very Yin and Yang!)
Over the series, they incarnate through many lives. In Fall of Ima, they’re Meliora and Jedrek, Princess and Prince in neighboring kingdoms. Of course there’s a romance element. However, I would say it’s a subplot. In their meeting other souls, karmic debt is created. Some resolve in the same life… others are deferred to collection in another incarnation.
Fall of Ima also sees the creation of the antagonist for the first three books. A doting mother loses herself in a desperate attempt to find a cure for death. She’s a sympathetic character… and I won’t say more, for the sake of avoiding spoilers!
It’s uncertain whether I achieved adding hope to the bleak thought of death. Yet, Fall of Ima is more than that. It’s a tale of two best-friends-turned-lovers finding their way in a world that demands much of them. Difficult decisions await Meliora and Jedrek around every corner. Set to the backdrop of two fertile, alien (but Earthlike) planets, the reader can discover new worlds. With the advent of sorcery, I hope to set the pace for later books in which the ethereal realm plays an active role.
If anything, I hope Fall of Ima is an enjoyable read. Perhaps that is my favorite light that I search for in a book. I simple wish to partake in an entertaining tale.
Cycles of the Lights was pounded out (all first draft) in four months, starting the summer of 2014. There are twelve books as of now… but even I feel that’s a bit … extreme. It was a wonderful, manic, creative phase. However, I’m looking to consolidate it down to fewer volumes.
If you’d like to check out Fall of Ima, it can be found on Amazon. (click on the word Amazon)
… and don’t forget! Follow me on instagram! @avareissbooks
I’m an illustrator as well, and include select drawings in my novels.
Thank you for reading! Ava will post every first Tuesday of the month. Next post, Ticana Zhu chats about the book which left the greatest impact on her.
This is not a sponsored post.