There has been a lot of talk about supporting local as we deal with Covid-19. Local restaurants, food suppliers, and local stores.
One area that hasn’t been talked about as much is supporting local authors. Yes, we can all support local bookshops easily now but what about the local authors that write the books?
This is why we are thrilled to introduce you to Alexis Marie Chute the local Alberta author and creator of The 8th Island Trilogy.
We were gifted the books to review and share our thoughts. It has taken us a while to read through – not because they weren’t interesting but because my almost 12 year old scooped them up first and I had to wait! These books are full of adventure and Alexis does a wonderful job transporting you to another world. These books are well written and can capture the imagination of both you and your older child. We were lucky enough to do a Q&A with Alexis where she covers everything from what inspired her to how she is dealing with being creative during a pandemic. Enjoy.
Alexis Marie Chute Interview – 8th Island Trilogy
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I always knew I was destined to be an artist of many forms. When I was in elementary school, I set up an art studio in my family’s basement and painted and wrote. It was all romantic notions of writing and artmaking, but it was innate and natural for me from as young as I can remember. I began writing my first novel while I was in junior high school. I still vividly remember that story.
Who were some authors that influenced you as a youth, and in what ways?
The portal fantasy of Michael D. Warden was an early influence for me in writing in that genre. I also loved all the books by David Gemmel. Even the western writer Louis L’Amour had a big impact on me. Their stories taught me about world building, scene mastery, and character development. In terms of being a writer I love Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird and Carolyn See’s Making a Literary Life. Those two were monumental for me as a young writer.
How did it feel when you got to hold your very first advanced copy?
Holding the first advanced reader copy of my memoir, Expecting Sunshine which was my first published book, was surreal. I was breathless. My cheeks hurt from smiling. I knew right then that I would write books until I die. The feeling was addictive. It was this epiphany: I created this thing—a finished book—that was a tangible object I could show for all my tireless hard work. It was the greatest payoff!
What was the inspiration for The 8th Island trilogy?
I am inspired by the idea of resiliency. I’ve witnessed it in others and myself. It’s the desire to get out of bed every morning and live, no matter what we have been through. That ‘what’ for me was the death of one of my children. That event taught me to be strong and brave. It taught me to fight. That is what The 8th Island Trilogy is all about: how far will we go to protect those we love? To the end of the world—and beyond to other worlds as well? It is book series about love and courage, even when we do not feel courageous.
At what point during the writing process did you realize it was going to be a trilogy?
Once I got to a natural ending for book one in the trilogy, called Above the Star, and the story was nowhere near over, that was when I knew I must continue. I did make the conscious choice of telling the story in a trilogy, instead of making the series open-ended in terms of the number of books it includes. It drives me nuts when series go on forever and drag things out. I like keeping the pace fast and the story tumbling along. When we know the end is in sight, it adds to the tension and excitement.
What sort of surprises awaits us in book three, Inside the Sun?
The characters in the story are full of secrets. Some of them do not realize the power that lies dormant inside of them. The mystery of the 8th island came to fruition in book two—Below the Moon—but that is only the beginning. There are many adventurous plot twists and character epiphanies in Inside the Sun. The ending is truly universal and yet deeply personal. I can’t wait for readers to experience the conclusion. Inside the Sun—the whole trilogy—makes us feel, reminds us that we are alive and that we are all connected. Beyond that, I can say no more!!
How has your writing life and launching Inside the Sun changed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Everything has changed. First, there is the stress that is causing me to write more poetry than any other form of writing. I find poetry wonderful to express abstract feelings, to seek to unearth how I’m coping (or not), to capture the essence of my present experience.
I’m also blogging much more than I ever have. I am posting about Authors Helping Authors and ways people can help their indie author friends, for example. I’ve even been writing creative curriculum I can use when teaching my kids. That’s never something I had imagined myself doing. This is a time where we must support each other however we can.
Launching Inside the Sun has been a new ballgame. I love meeting with readers in person, so I’m finding other creative and meaningful ways to connect. I do feel that The 8th Island trilogy is perfectly timed for the COVID-19 pandemic. The story is about people coming together to fight for what they believe, finding the bravery they need inside themselves in hard times. It’s a story I’m sure we can all relate to, and one that will inspire us in our own challenging times.
You’re not only a writer, but also an artist, designer, filmmaker, and curator—that’s amazing! How do you find the time and motivation to juggle all your passions?
I’m a master juggler. Ha ha! That was a joke! I mostly cope by scheduling everything on Google Calendar—props to my husband for finally breaking through my old-school ways and teaching me to use the program. I’m a big fan of writing things out by hand, but no more!
My family is a big help with everything I do. Their support is truly amazing and I am beyond grateful for them.
I do many kinds of work— writing, art, curation, filmmaking—but it all ties together. When I need a break from writing, for example, I’ll make visual art, and vice versa. This helps me when I’m feeling stressed, uninspired, or just need a break.
What advice do you have for aspiring young novelists?
Time deadlines work wonders for getting words on paper. I wrote the first draft of Above the Star, book one in The 8th Island Trilogy, during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The goal with NaNoWriMo is to pen a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Since then I have learned to be disciplined on my own, but that was a great start.
My other advice is to separate the creative writing stage from editing. Write first, edit later. Plus, never feel like you are not ready to write the book that is burning inside of you. You’ll never be ready, so start now, get it done, and continue to write. Writing is a journey and a passion. Always learn and grow.
Where can people find you online?
Facebook: Alexis Marie Chute, Art, Photograph and Creative Writing
LinkedIn: Alexis Marie Chute
More information about books written by Alexis, links to her website and where to buy:
Above the Star https://www.alexismariechute.com/abovethestar/
Below the Moon https://www.alexismariechute.com/belowthemoon/
Inside the Sun https://www.alexismariechute.com/insidethesun/
The 8th Island Trilogy https://www.alexismariechute.com/8thislandtrilogy/
Expecting Sunshine Memoir https://www.alexismariechute.com/expectingsunshinebook/
Expecting Sunshine Documentary https://www.alexismariechute.com/expecting-sunshine-documentary/
General Alexis Marie Chute website https://www.alexismariechute.com/
Alexis Marie Chute on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15746544.Alexis_Marie_Chute
Alexis Marie Chute on Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/alexis-marie-chute