This week I’m introducing Alicia Gaile, author of Trial By Song and upcoming novella A Coat Red As Holly, both enthralling fairytale retellings.
As the youngest of seven brothers born with magical gifts, Jack’s often felt he has something to prove. But revealing their powers makes them targets of the fae, who will stop at nothing to hide their existence from mankind.
In spite of the danger, Jack sneaks out on Halloween to compete in the Battle of the Bands, shattering his family’s rule to guard their secret at all costs. When Jack gets dragged through a portal and winds up in Faerie, he finds an ancient relic he simply can’t leave behind. But escaping from Faerie is only the beginning as the harp’s former owner is determined to see Jack pay for his crime.
With old enemies returned new enemies awaken, revealing the Sorleys aren’t the only family in Straifield with ties to the fae.
Alicia Gaile is a YA contemporary fantasy author whose love of fairy tales and mythological retellings led her to write her first fairy story at the age of twelve. After receiving a Creative Writing degree from Georgia College and State University she began writing early versions of Trial by Song while living abroad in southeast Asia. She currently resides in El Paso, Texas with her family and two dogs.
1. Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on.
This month I’m releasing a prequel novella to Trial by Song which tells Eira’s mother Gwen’s story and is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Once I finish that I’ll jump back into editing the sequel to Trial by Song.
You As A Reader
2. When did you first fall in love with books?
I fell in love with books before I knew how to read. My mom likes to tell a story from when I was two. She came downstairs and found me flipping through a magazine crying because I didn’t know how to read what it said. As soon as I learned to read I started devouring books by the cartful.
3. What’s your favorite book from your childhood?
The Harry Potter series played a huge role in my childhood. I knew those books backwards and forwards. I listened to the audio books every night as I went to sleep. Not only were Harry’s adventures magical, but I found J. K. Rowling’s rise to success just as inspiring. Her story made the idea of becoming an author seem possible.
4. Of the books you’ve read, which one changed you the most?
I was in high school when I first read Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. It’s a gorgeous retelling of the Six Swans that adds real depth and dimension to the fairy tale. That book really set the bar for what I wanted my stories to accomplish. It layers elements of folklore and mythology into a story about family and personal sacrifice. Not to mention it’s told in a really beautiful way.
5. What’s the last book you read and your current favorite?
I just finished Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick. It tells a really interesting series of linked short stories set against the backdrop of a mysterious island. My current favorite is Thorn Jack by Katherine Harbour. It’s a retelling of Tam Lin set in a small town in New York that blends ghost stories and fairy folklore in really interesting ways.
6. If you could meet any author, alive or dead, who would it be?
I would love to talk mythology and folklore with Stephen R. Lawhead. I read the Pendragon Cycle in middle school and really enjoyed his take on the Arthurian legend, and I recently reread the King Raven series, which grounded Robin Hood in some interesting historical ways.
You As A Writer
7. When did you first know you were a writer?
I started telling my own stories as soon as I learned to spell, but when I was ten or eleven I wrote my first fairy tale, The Enchanted Meadow. My aunt taught fourth grade at the time. She read the story to her class, and they wrote me letters afterward. I even had the chance to visit her class at the end of the school year and they treated me awe like I was a real author, and that experience has stuck with me ever since. I still have all their letters.
8. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? If so, what was it about?
I wrote stories before The Enchanted Meadow, but that one was when I started to take my writing seriously. It was about fairies and leprechauns who work together to find a missing unicorn. When the unicorn who protects their meadow mysteriously disappears, a group of magical creatures travels to the human world to track her down and bring her back.
9. What has been the most difficult part of your writing journey? The best part?
I think most writers suffer from self-consciousness, and in my case Trial by Song was in the works for almost five years. After so many years of saying I was going to do something with my story it was hard to justify the time it took to finish it and convince myself that this time was really it. At the same time, seeing my book in print was one of the most exciting moments of my life. To be able to hold a lifetime of dreams in my hand for the first time was a really wonderful goal to achieve.
10. Of all the writing advice you’ve received, what helped you the most?
I often find ‘what not to do’ advice more helpful than ‘how to.’ Some rules are made to be broken and understanding the reasoning behind the ‘what not to do’ tips gives me a better idea of what I want to do. That being said, one of the books I like to recommend is Hooked by Les Edgerton. It gives great advice with examples on how to write beginnings that hook your reader. Not only is it helpful but it’s entertaining.
11. Tell us about your current project and any others you’re working on.
I’m putting the finishing touches on ‘A Coat Red As Holly’ which is a prequel novella that tells the story of Eira’s mother and how Eira came to be. It’s my take on Little Red Riding Hood. Once I’m finished with that I’ll go back into working on the sequel to Trial by Song. The first draft laid the bare bones of the story, but I’m excited to flesh out the world of Faerie and raise the stakes for Jack.
Fun Stuff About You
12. Besides writing and reading, what are some of your other interests?
I’m a self-taught artist and do colored pencil illustrations and acrylic paintings when I find the time. I’m trying to learn how to bake, but apart from my pumpkin cheesecake so far I haven’t had very encouraging results.
13. If you could become an instant expert at any one thing, what would it be and why?
Horticulture would come in handy. Knowing the different varieties of plants and their properties would make world building easier and I bet my yard would finally look pretty instead of being a potted plant graveyard.
14. You’ve just won an all expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world. Where would you go?
It’s hard to choose between Ireland or Scotland. So much of the lore that inspires my stories comes from that corner of the world. I would love to tour the old castles and take in the beautiful countryside.
15. How can people connect with you?
You can like and follow me at:
16. Anything else you’d like to tell us?
It was wonderful to chat and share my love of books and writing. I am always happy to talk fairy tales and swap random bits of folklore and myths.
Thanks for sharing a bit about you! I can’t wait to read A Coat Red As Holly not to mention the sequel to Trial By Song. I’m having Jack withdrawals!
If you’d like to read Alicia’s amazing fairytale retelling, you can find it on Amazon at the link below.