Which reality would you choose?
The multi-faceted YA fantasy genre has made a strong comeback this year as stories shifted from vampires and zombies to teenagers with mystical powers. This resurgence may be rooted in the genre’s contemporary features or issues. Many authors decide to intertwine their fantastical tales with real-life issues—they’re relatable. It’s a modern ingredient for writing YA, and in Jane Alvey Harris’ Riven, fantasy and contemporary collide.
Riven, book one in the My Myth Trilogy, delves into the world of the Fae and follows a seventeen-year-old Emily as she struggles between realms of reality. Harris also touches on hard subjects like sexual abuse and mental illness. The story crosses over into this reverie-like world to, like Kirkus Reviews said, “offer salvation.” The gripping book trailer is sure to capture the minds of those who love the innovative genre twists of fantasy and thriller, and it stars the talented Chase Coleman from The CW’s The Originals.
RIVEN BOOK TRAILER
Seventeen year-old Emily’s dad is in prison for securities fraud and her mom’s strung-out on pain meds, leaving Emily to parent herself and her younger brothers and sister. She’s got things mostly under control until a couple weeks before Dad’s release, when voices start whispering in her head, and Gabe, the hot lifeguard at the pool, notices the strange brands engraved on her arm…the ones she’s trying desperately to hide. Emily doesn’t know how the symbols got there or what they mean. They appeared overnight and now they’re infected and bleeding. She’s pretty sure she’s losing her mind.
Stress, insomnia, and her wounded egos drive Emily to self-medicate, which has to be why the nightmares from her childhood have resurfaced, why they’re commandeering her conscious even when she’s awake. It has to be why the fairytale creatures she created as a little girl insist they need her help.
Triggered by the return of her childhood abuser and unable to cope with reality, Emily slips completely inside her elaborate fantasy world. She’s powerful in the First Realm, maybe even more powerful than her attacker. It would be so easy to stay there, to lose herself in enchantment…to lose herself in love. But something sinister lurks in the forest shadows. Emily soon discovers her demons have followed her inside her fairytale. They’re hunting her. With the help of the Fae, she frantically searches for the weapons she needs to defeat her greatest fears and escape back to reality before the man who tortured her can prey on her younger brothers and sister, too. Time is running out…
Q & A with Jane Alvey Harris
Q: Why did you decide to write the My Myth trilogy?
To document the impact childhood sexual assault has on victims. Riven specifically focuses on the way children dissociate from trauma by taking their minds to a better place in order to endure what is happening to their physical body, and how that dissociation impacts them as survivors. The first book deals with acknowledgment and self-acceptance, which are both essential on the initial road to healing. Emily’s journey is based on real events, and just like life does, I’ve woven in romance, adventure, wit, and a touch of magic. My goal is to entertain while raising awareness and spreading hope about topics that are extremely important to me. The trilogy explores the struggle to heal, to rise above guilt and shame, and ultimately promotes empowerment. The over-arching message is that victims can do more than survive…they can thrive.
Q: How do you handle criticism of your writing?
Gosh, that was really difficult at first, but it has given me a huge opportunity for growth. I had to develop a thicker skin and learn not to take things personally, which is a very good lesson to learn! I’m open to constructive criticism. I hired an editor and consultant to find problems, and you’d better believe I listened to them. I also engaged beta readers. If there’s a problem with grammar, plot holes, continuity, etc., I want to know about them, and things that make sense in my head don’t always translate onto paper. If it’s opinion, you’re welcome to share your opinion, but it likely won’t affect my choices as a writer. The process of writing and publishing my first novel have taught me to be humble, strong, and that I can’t please everyone, and that it’s so important not to try.
Q: If you were an animated character, who would you be and why?
My kids say I’d be the Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time, which sounds about right. She’s elegant and oh-so-charming…lololol.
Q: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know how interesting it is, but active day-dreaming is a huge part of my process. And because I was processing my own PTSD while writing Riven, some of the scenes are taken directly from therapy sessions, hypnosis, and EMDR. I think this is what makes my writing so visual: I create each scene as a movie in my head before writing it down.
Q: Besides the My Myth trilogy, do you have any other works planned?
I do! I get new ideas all the time and write them down. I have synopses for a modern retelling of the Rapunzel story told from the witch’s point of view called Anatomy of a Curse, and an adult novel about a femme fatale who has to work off a lifetime of karmic debt called Obligate.
Written/Interviewed by Nadege Richards.