Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tracey A. Akers: Welcome to Aredyrah

It’s been said that a book can open the door to new worlds. For Dade City writer Tracy A. Akers, the key to that door was a pencil and a blank sheet of drawing paper.  As a child, Akers loved to draw.  But as she grew, her life became filled with the demands of teaching, marriage, and motherhood, and she let her artistic side slip away. Then came what she calls her “Middle-age Metamorphosis.

“I got the itch to draw and realized, to my surprise, that it had been thirty years,” she says. “I began playing with it, and I cracked open the creative side of my brain that I’d set aside.”  She began randomly sketching, and a picture emerged of a young boy on horseback – a boy with long red hair, wearing black gloves.  She didn’t know where the image came from. As she drew, a story began to form, and she felt compelled to write it down.  The way Akers explains it, “I didn’t pick the story; the story picked me.”  Although she’d never had any formal training as a writer, she threw herself into learning everything she could about the craft. She read mountains of books, became a member of the Florida Writers Association, joined a critique group, and “practiced, practiced, practiced.”  Two years later, she had completed The Fire and the Light, an award-winning fantasy novel for young adults
The Fire and the Light introduces readers to the world of Aredyrah, the mythical island that is home to Dayn and Ruairi, two teenage boys considered outcasts by their rigid societies. The search for acceptance and truth that brings them together makes for a spellbinding tale that is bound to resonate with young readers experiencing the awkwardness of adolescence.  The saga continues in The Search for the Unnamed One. This second book in what Akers calls “The Souls of Aredyrah Series” won the gold medal for Young Adult Literature in the 2007 Florida Book Awards.  Akers describes the series as “high fantasy that combines romance, adventure, and cultural conflicts.” Both books have been chosen for the Florida Department of Education’s  "Just Read" Families Recommended Summer Reading Lists. Book Three, The Taking of the Dawn, was recently released.  Akers is currently working on The Shifting of the Stars,” Book Four in the Aredyrah series, as well as a separate series still set in Aredyrah, but in a different generation.
Akers finds it a challenge to juggle her real life with the fantasy one she creates as a writer, but she tries to set aside time for her son and grandson and “to make a date with my husband now and then.” She also manages to lecture and attend Science Fiction/Fantasy conferences.  But she’s always happy to return to Aredyrah.  As a former teacher, Akers hopes reluctant readers will join her on the journey. “I want kids to love reading," she explains. "When a kid says, ‘I never liked to read, but I loved your book,’ I know my job is done.”  Akers also hopes their time in Aredyrah will help teens learn to accept themselves. “There are so many teens who find themselves labeled. I hope a kid who doesn’t fit in will be able to walk away from my stories saying, ‘My differences can make me great!'"

For more about Tracey A. Akers, visit her website at

Next: Blaize Clement - Of People and Pets

1 comment:

  1. An interesting book, Jackie. Would you say your target readers are YA? If so, that's a hot genre right now. Good luck with your imaginative tale. Jean Harrington