Meet the Author: Music from a Strange Planet by Barbara Black

Today we travel to Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada to chat with Barbara Black about how a porcupine, a magic spot on her couch, the Delphic Oracle, adventure motorcycling, playing the piano, collage, whispering to bees, the William Tell Overture, thriving on the random, a margarita with a Antarctic ice cube, and the Jetsons come together as part of Barbaras life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in the southwest corner of British Columbia, Canada, on big, beautiful Vancouver Island in the city of Victoria. Land of sea, mountains, rainforest, raccoons and seagulls. City of many restaurants and creative people who move here to pursue their bliss.

In which genre do you write? How many published books do you have?

I write poetry, short stories and flash fiction. I’m a minimalist at heart. I love the art of compression and squeezing an entire world into a few lines or pages. Music from a Strange Planet is my first book: a collection of twenty-two short stories, published by Caitlin Press.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

Since it’s a story collection, I can’t cite just one idea. But mostly my stories start with a character’s voice, or a distinct statement that I know will lead me into a new fictional landscape. Interestingly, for my story “Belly-Deep in White Clover,” about a solitary taxidermist who becomes enamoured with a porcupine, the idea came from Geist magazine’s “CanLit Premise Generator” (as in Canadian Literature). It was a fun generator of random CanLit themes and tropes, including moose, loggers, beavers, hockey teams, Leonard Cohen, French-Canadian clowns, and harsh winters. When I pressed the magic generator button I got something like: an unusually tall man/with an antiquated profession/falls in love with a wild animal. For the longest time, I tried to write a humourous story on this subject, but finally gave up. Then one day, the beginnings of a very differently-toned story arrived, with those same quirky elements, but it was beautiful and tender and mysterious and has been beloved by readers.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I have a magic spot on my couch. When I sit there early in the morning, brilliant opening lines come into my head, unbidden. It’s like I’m the Delphic Oracle presiding over the mysterious fumes of prophecy, only with no fumes!

What would you choose as your spirit animal and why?

I discovered my spirit animal at a poetry retreat. Our first assignment was to call in our spirit animal and write a poem about it to share the next morning. I tried all evening to summon up an animal and as the deadline loomed, started to panic. I imagined all the experienced writers in their rooms crafting pieces of brilliance about their totem animals. The solution? I just let go and wrote nonstop, calling in this animal until my pen stopped, then looked at the first line: “Are you the dark brown one of the sweet-smelling soil, the solitary thorn who eats the tender leaves?” It was a porcupine. Of course, there’s the connection of quills with writing, which I only subconsciously realized. But after some research, I was touched to learn that porcupines are mostly solitary (like writers!) and gentle and they sleep in trees, something I actually did as a child. I composed the poem and went to bed after midnight. The next morning, I read it at the writing circle. One of the retreat participants was an editor of a Canadian literary journal. She came up to me afterwards and offered to publish my poem. It was my first publication.

What are you currently reading?

I love to read and write short forms. Short stories, flash stories and compact poems. My latest interest is prose poems. They’re a lyrical, enigmatic hybrid. I’m currently reading two prose poem collections—a heart-breakingly beautiful collection by Allison Benis White, called Self-Portrait with Crayon. She writes in a unique style that somehow manages to convey complex states of mind; and David Shumate’s witty book of prose poems, High Water Mark, inventive takes on everything from Hitler’s barber to Neruda carrying a sea in his suitcase. On the fiction side, I recently finished Madeline Miller’s Circe, which I highly recommend. I’m also working my way through George Saunders’ short story master class book, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain. And I love pretzeling my brain with cryptic crosswords.

What outdoor activity haven’t you tried, but would like to try?

Adventure motorcycling on the backroads. No traffic! Hills, and rivers, mud, dirt paths, and bumps. Plus, I might see a porcupine. Or, at least, the back of one.

Can you play a musical instrument?

I play piano. Currently enjoying a book of transcribed jazz improvisations from some of the greats. What a little jazz can do for a person’s soul. I have over ten years of classical vocal training, but now I prefer singing jazz and folk music. I can also play the beginning of the William Tell Overture on my front teeth, if you care to listen.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

In the warmer months, I’m travelling, out in the garden whispering to the bees or riding my motorcycle and bagging some curves. In the winter, I read and write and often am busy on a collaboration. This year I’ll be working with a composer in Amsterdam, writing text for his composition, “Seven Colours of the Night.” I also recently took up collage and now collage excerpts from my writing on Instagram. (As a matter of fact, my publisher kindly asked if I would design the front cover for my book and I did!)

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing? What’s your writing process?

…that when a story gets stuck, I can just wait until a new scene acts itself out in my head visually. If I allow my subconscious to do its work, the character solves the problem for me. Characters generally come to me unbidden and seem to ask for me to write their story. In this collection, there’s a solitary taxidermist who lives in the woods, a business analyst who yearns to be a sculptor, and a female global traveler who looks for love in all the wrong places. Where these people came from is a mystery to me.

After I finished my manuscript, I was surprised to see inadvertent themes related to my past or to what was happening in my life during the four years of writing the book. I saw in several characters my Dad’s struggle with dementia; and myself in a little girl character who wants to dress up as a very specific kind of beetle (as a child, I loved insects); and my thoughts around mothers and daughters showed up in a story with a mother who mourns her stillborns; one who’s lost her daughter; another who connects with her estranged adult daughter. This is not to say there aren’t moments of humour and subversity in the book. There’s plenty of that, too. So, despite most of the characters not being like me at all, parts of my life are woven into the very fibre of the stories.

As for a writing process, I’m not a planner. I don’t follow the advice to have a writing routine. I thrive on the random. Mostly, I rely on a very strong voice or line to kick-start a story and start the “machine of story-writing.” George Saunders calls this, “Follow the Voice.” Once the kernel of the story is in place, I’m very disciplined at pursuing it.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. Why is he there?

Never doubt the muse. It might bring a sombrero-wearing penguin to your front porch. Go with it! And say yes to the margarita with the Antarctic ice cube floating in it.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

I loved The Jetsons. That opening with its crazy, punchy, exciting music (they squeezed in a few notes of “Chopsticks”!), and the family bubble-jet zipping around the futuristic cityscape. It was so neat that, after landing, the jet snapped down into George’s briefcase! Being a bit of a tomboy, I identified with Elmore. Back then, my father read Popular Science magazine and there were always futurist scenarios in there, like moving sidewalks in the city, personal mini-jets and highways layered on highways like a stack of noodles.

If Mars or another planet were livable, would you accept a one way ticket there?

“Livable” is a pretty minimalist term. Why would I leave my little pocket of raincoast paradise of four seasons for a dry red planet with no greenery or coffee shops?

What are you currently working on?

A collection of flash fictions titled, “Little Fortified Stories,” that began with sitting in the Port Institute in Lisbon, sampling port and muscatel and free-writing words that came to me based on that tipple’s unique qualities. The collection has since evolved to include more story-inspiring spirits, from bourbon to gin and other warped, poignant or fantastical tales that relate to my mostly imagined ancestry.

Tell us about your most recent book. And what’s the “strange music” part of it?

My first book is Music from a Strange Planet, a collection of short stories with themes of quirky love, emotional attachment, transformation, grief and the influences of the natural world (and the occasional insect). Among many other characters, you’ll meet a woman who plans a “sologamy ceremony” to marry herself; two insomniac strangers who come together over a raccoon; and an installation artist who transforms herself into a caribou.

The book title comes from a story with the same title which involves a precocious girl named Lucky Bee who, in addition to having a live cricket who helps her predict the future, is a young composer. Her most recent opus, “Music from a Strange Planet,” is inspired by the convergence of cricket choruses. Several stories in the collection reference music, including one about a punk music singer suffering a creative crisis and inadvertently falling in love with a bassist, and another about a love-seeker who meets her true love—a tram-riding musician—in a tiki bar in Prague.

The book is eclectic, or “unusual and unorthodox,” as one of my endorsers says, full of varying characters, all of whom I care deeply about and who seem to exist somewhere in another galaxy, carrying on their unique lives. I’m thrilled to be introducing them to readers.

It was wonderful having you on MTA, Barbara!! Such a fun interview!! Wishing you all the best, with much success, and many margaritas with Antarctic ice cubes! – Camilla

Book Blurb:

Music from a Strange Planet:

A striking and genre-bending debut short story collection from writer Barbara Black.

Off-beat, provocative, philosophical, Music from a Strange Planet transports you to intimate worlds in a quirky multiverse. This unique story collection places characters at the core of their vulnerabilities. Grief, tenderness and longing soak the pages, taking the reader into the intimate places of the heart: An awkward child envisions herself as a darkling beetle; an unemployed business analyst prefers water-walking over “rebranding” himself; a psychologist wants to marry herself; and in the squatters’ district, a biogenetically-altered couple visits an attic to observe a large cocoon. Black takes the reader from the ruins of a dystopian city to inner self-created landscapes with a masterfully crafted tone and a register that ranges from contemplative to comic. Expect your planet to tilt a little to the strange after reading this engaging collection.

Book Trailer for Music from a Strange Planet:

Book Endorsements:

These exhilarating stories, quick and sharp and tender, breach the barrier that separates civilized and wild, human and non. Senses fuse, flesh is transfigured; characters come to themselves at moments of metamorphosis, modulating to new forms of life. Barbara Black’s magic is the kind that illuminates.”

—John Gould, author of The End of Me

“Barbara Black’s debut collection, Music from a Strange Planet, offers tales of obsession and transformation in which the melding of character with the phenomenal world is nothing less than astounding. With a surgeon’s exacting skill, she lays bare the often-strange music of the human heart.”

—M.A.C. Farrant, author of One Good Thing: A Living Memoir

“Be prepared. Be very prepared and preferably with your inner antennae on high alert as you enter into this translucent, transcendent, Kafkaesque world of illusions. Black goes beyond spider-like weaving as she spins her tales. Unusual, unorthodox, but always unique, they will stick to you.”

—Cathleen With, author of Having Faith in the Polar Girls’ Prison


Music from a Strange Planet

Where to find the book:

Order direct from the publisher here:

Or order from your local independent bookstore.

Order from here:

Order from here:

Connect with Barbara:

YouTube Author Page:

Author Page at Goodreads:

Facebook Writer Page:



Other Links:

Author Interview with Mandy-Eve Barnett:

Book Review by Bill Arnott:

Author Interview with Bill Arnott:

Author Interview with Oscar Martens:

Taking risks with Barbara Black


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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host


Meet the Author: Moonbeams from the Soul by Fay Knowles

Today we’re traveling to Nassau, New Providence Island in The Bahamas to chat with Fay Knowles. She and I discuss how being a newspaper reporter, seeking sunnier climates, travel writing, short stories, a babbling brook, and an old oak tree come together as part of Fay’s past and present writing journey.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a Scottish-born writer who made The Bahamas my home many years ago. I live in Nassau, New Providence Island. I have been writing since the age of nine, penned a children’s adventure story book at eleven and won a school essay competition at age fifteen.

After leaving school at sixteen, I trained in Devon, England, as a secretary, then newspaper reporter. At the age of twenty I set off to “work my way around the world”, first emigrating by ship to Canada. I worked as a production/editorial assistant for the former Canadian Food Journal and Gift Buyer, Toronto. And then, to avoid a Canadian winter and to seek sunnier climes, I took a Greyhound coach down across the U.S. from Toronto to Miami, en route for The Bahamas.

I met my future husband Erskine in Nassau a month after that and we were married the following year. I never did “travel the world”!

As well as getting by-lines in British and Bahamian newspapers, my articles have appeared in Westward News (a former in house publication of British Telecom), the Kennel Gazette (official journal of the British Kennel Club), Christian Herald, and Sports Magazine Bahamas.

My writing assignments have included articles for Bahamas Information Services, travel writing for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and as a photo journalist for Town Centre Mall, Nassau, Bahamas. I once worked as a “temp” for the late Sir Etienne Dupuch, former Publisher/Editor of The Tribune, Nassau, transcribing his long, captivating editorials.

My short stories have been published in The Lady magazine, London, England, and The Broadkill Review, Delaware, U.S.A.; with poetry in the U.K. magazine Evergreen.

Most of my short stories in Sunbeams from the Heart – A Collection of Twelve Romantic Short Stories were first published in The Lady or The Broadkill Review.

And I also have a new book of short stories “Moonbeams from The Soul: A Collection of Fourteen Provocative Short Stories”.

I drew on my Scottish background and knowledge of The Bahamas when writing my Romantic Suspense novel Love at Sunset, which is now Book One in my Buchanan Mystery Romance Series.

And my mini-memoir The Scottish Connection tells of my journey back to Scotland with my mother and young sons to revisit our Scottish roots.

My writer’s guide How to Be the Best Writer Ever!  is “An informal guide and source of inspiration for new and not so new writers worldwide.”

In which genre do you write?

Mystery Romance, Romantic Suspense, Literary Fiction, Poetry and Non Fiction

How many published books do you have?

Five so far + a short story. I am currently working on another novel “Oleanders End”, which is Book Two in my Buchanan Mystery Romance Series.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

At age nine I read a lovely poem about a babbling brook, which sparked the passion in me for writing!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A desk; an office chair that gives good back support; a computer and printer; pens and steno pads; a window with a window seat and view of ocean or countryside; and a comfortable chair for reading.

What are you currently reading?

I have just finished reading “The Guest Children” by Geoffrey Bilson (The Story of the British Child Evacuees Sent to Canada During World War II)

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I’m “secretary” for any of my family members whenever they need me to help with their business ventures!

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I have actually managed to get books published!

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

I used to keep a daily diary while growing up, but life interferes now!

What do you miss about being a kid?

Just climbing up onto the branches of an old oak tree and scribbling away to my heart’s content!

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

I’ve been told by a former schoolmate that as a child I was more self-assured than most of the other students and capable of expressing negative views whereas the rest tended to be “yes-men”! I never knew that about myself. I think this trait has helped me get ahead in life.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

Starbucks! That’s where I meet other writers and chat about writing.

It was wonderful to learn more about you and your writings Fay. Thank you for being a part of MTA! – Camilla

Book Blurbs and Where to Find Fay’s Books:


From wild temptations to dangerous decisions, an eclectic assortment of thought- provoking short stories.

Available on Amazon:


Facing imminent danger and fierce opposition to love a second time around, Violet and Gordon seek a new life in Gordon’s homeland of Scotland, thousands of miles away from where they had lived in Nassau, Bahamas, but trouble catches up with them in their little loch side cottage. In the meantime, back in Nassau an unscrupulous attorney appears on the scene, along with a crooked realtor. What they do and the extent they would go to leads to a shocking ending.

Available on Amazon as an e-book and in paperback (regular and large print).


“A beautiful keepsake. Love themes in this delightful collection of romantic short stories tell of nostalgia, bright new beginnings, homecoming, second chances – and the unexpected! Heart-warming stories that propel you on a journey through Scotland, England, The Bahamas and rural America.”

Available on Amazon as an e-book and in paperback (regular and large print).


“Driving long distances in a short space of time throughout the United Kingdom is the norm nowadays. However, in the seventies it was often an adventure to cover the length or breadth of Britain. In this illustrated mini-memoir Stirling-born Fay Knowles shares memories of her 1978 journey back to Scotland with her mother and young sons, to revisit their Scottish roots.”


An informal guide and source of inspiration for new and not so new writers worldwide- Always wanted to write a book? Or are you a writer whose career is going nowhere? This uplifting writer’s guide outlines the craft and how to become the best writer ever in fifteen straightforward and easy to understand chapters.


Annie endures a tedious existence with her baby daughter and irresponsible casino dealer husband in what to most people is a tropical paradise. She sometimes gazes from their dilapidated porch at the distant funnels of luxury cruise ships docked in the harbour. If the wind is in the right direction, she hears the huge creatures wail, promising to take her away. She longs to escape from it all, but is tied down to eking a living with grueling double shifts in a local restaurant. When an unexpected opportunity comes along she has
to make a sudden decision. However, she is torn between her family and the prospect of elevating herself to a better life. What she decides determines their future.

Connect with Fay:

Blog –
Amazon author’s page –
Facebook –
Twitter – @faykwrites
LinkedIn –
Instagram – @faykwrites


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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Meet the Author: A Walk in Wildflower Park by Bella Osborne

Today we welcome Bella Osborne to Meeting the Authors as we travel to The Midlands, UK and learn how finding the humor in the darker moments of life, board games, biscuits, Scooby-Doo, and conversations in the toilet weave into Bella’s writer’s life. Grab the large bag of popcorn and get comfy ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have been jotting down stories as far back as I can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that I finished a full length novel. Since then I’ve written four best sellers and been shortlisted twice for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

I live in The Midlands, UK with my family who thankfully, accept me as I am (with mad morning hair and a penchant for skipping).

In which genre do you write?

I write romantic comedy with a bit of a punch. My stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. I like to find the humour in the darker moments of life and weave these into my stories.

How many published books do you have?

A Walk in Wildflower Park was out on 27th June and it is my fifth novel.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Apart from feeling guilty that I’m not writing or marketing my books I can usually be found trying out new recipes to the dismay of my family, getting beaten at board games by my daughter or expanding my gin knowledge with friends and family.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

I can get through an alarming amount of biscuits. I also learned that I loathe editing. I love writing the first draft when it’s all new and fresh and exciting but rereading my book for the tenth time makes me want to set fire to it.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

I met Katie Fforde, bestselling romance author and president of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, in a toilet and during our conversation I proceeded to jump up and down with excitement as I told her that an editor had just asked to see my full manuscript. Thankfully it all ended well – the manuscript went on to be my debut novel and Katie didn’t take out a restraining order.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Scooby-Doo! I loved that programme. It had a great mix of fun and mystery and who didn’t want to be part of a cool gang that went around in a van?

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

It was ‘Isn’t It Romantic’ on Netflix and it was hilarious. I chose it because I’d heard good things about it and it was a different take on the classic romcom. As a writer of romantic comedies I see this as essential research not an opportunity to veg out on the sofa with a large bag of popcorn (although, obviously I did that too).

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

Why do you have to join me in the toilet?
Do you know that none of the other cats play fetch?
You know I don’t eat mice, right?

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Planning. I am a huge planner and this comes in very handing for plotting my novels. I spend a lot of time getting to know my characters and working out the plot before I start to write. It also means I have a legitimate excuse for indulging my post-it note obsession.

Tell us about your most recent book.

It’s titled A Walk In Wildflower Park – a feel good summer read.

When Anna is dumped by her fiancé, she moves in to her own place on the edge of the gorgeous Wildflower Park and pledges to stay off men and focus on her career, but a handsome new colleague seems to thwart her attempts at every turn. And when she receives an accidental text from a mystery man, could it be the new start she needs? Or someone she really shouldn’t be falling for?

Anna’s neighbour Sophie is a stressed-out mum-of-two with a third on the way. Her husband is a constant frustration, and their children are a regular source of newly-invented swear words and unidentifiable sticky surfaces.

Luckily, Anna and Sophie have each other – and Wildflower Park proves to be a sanctuary as they map out a path to find the happiness they both deserve…

Thank you Bella for joining us on Meeting the Authors. It was great fun learning more about you and your writer’s life! – Camilla

Where to buy:

It’s available in paperback from Sainsburys and all good bookshops from 27th June 2019 and also online:

Amazon Kindle US –

Amazon Paperback US –

Amazon Kindle UK –

Amazon Paperback UK –


Connect with Bella Osborne:

Website –

Twitter –

Facebook –

Instagram –

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Saints and Curses by Alexis Lantgen

Today we welcome Alexis Lantgen and travel to the state of Texas in the United States. Here we’ll learn how Renaissance Faires, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Redwood National Forest and Captain Marvel come together to create the symphony of Alexis Lantgen. Grab your cape and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a writer, teacher, and classical musician (I play violin and viola in a local symphony orchestra). I love Renaissance Faires and all things science fiction and fantasy.

My short stories have appeared in the Gallery of Curiosities, Phantaxis, Red Sun Magazine, and Swords and Sorcery Magazine, and I have one coming out in the May 2019 issue of Kzine as well. I’ve also written nonfiction articles for Renaissance Magazine.

I’m married and I have two children, a beautiful and spirited five-year-old daughter and a toddler son. I live in the United States, inTexas.

How many published books do you have?

I have two published books right now. My first book, Sapience, is a collection of science fiction short stories. It’s pretty dark in tone, something you might enjoy if you like Black Mirror or EdgarAllen Poe.

My second book, Saints and Curses, is a collection of fantasy short stories. While some of these stories are pretty dark, there are a few that are much more lighthearted and funny. Think elves and magic coffee

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the pastor present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I would meet Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and I’d ask him to improvise at the piano. Or ask if he could finally finish his Requiem Mass!

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings?If so, how?

Yes, although I don’t write in it everyday. I think it helps to jot down ideas as often as they come to me, even if I’m not sure I’ll ever develop it into anything. I also think it can help me vent–I write in my journals when I’m angry or sad sometimes, and I don’t want to take it out on anyone else. It’s very cathartic, because just writing down my feelings or my problems can help me see solutions or ideas I didn’t have before. It clears my mind.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

The last movie I watched was Captain Marvel. I took my daughter to see it so we could spend some time together, just the two of us. I loved the movie! I thought it was a powerful story, and I enjoyed all the little twists and watching Carol Danvers discover who she really is. Also, the kitty!

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Probably my stubborn determination. I’m not someone that stops once I’ve got something I want to achieve, at least not until I’ve beaten myself bloody trying to see it through. I’ll admit it can be a problematic trait sometimes–I think I have a touch of the martyr in me, so I probably hold on to things long after I should have let it go. But I think it also means I tend to succeed where lots of other people would have given up (though those people may very well be happier and more sane than me).

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

My family went on an incredible trip to the Redwoods National Park in California. Seeing the redwood forest–they’re the tallest trees on Earth, and it’s impossible to convey their majesty. It was the most magical place I’ve ever been, and I loved it. I want to go back again someday, and show the redwoods to my children.

Blurb for my newest book, Saints and Curses:

Explore worlds of light and dark, where magical whimsy and grim tidings alike are painted across the tapestry of human experience.Indulge in tales of the fantastical where enchantments are bought and sold at the local corner store,your morning latte gives you special abilities, and you might just adopt a murderous, vampiric cat. Your child might be stolen away in the night and replaced with an ancient, evil creature of the fae, waves of plague-ridden vermin consume everything, and only a saint could hope to turn the tide. These stories and more await you, if you dare to turn the page…

Thank you Alexis Lantgen for stopping by Meeting the Authors. It was great fun to learn about a portion of the symphony of your life.

Find out more about Alexis and her books:

US Kindle:

UK Amazon:




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Meet the Author: Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories by Lillian Darnell

Today we welcome Lillian Darnell as we travel to Reno, Nevada USA to learn how nature, lions and stairs are part of the magic of Lillian’s life. Grab your fairy wings and your spell book …

What types of stories are in “Where Would You Fly”?

The types of stories in “Where Would You Fly” are poetry, songs, riddles, fictional stories, and fantasy stories.

In which genre do you write?

I write Fantasy, Poetry and Fiction. Sometimes I will write about trips to cities as well.

How many published books do you have?

I have published 1 magical book with the help of my mother Camilla.

What inspires your writing?

Nature, reading, something I say, food, holidays, and more when I can’t think of something to write. Other times though, my writing flows through like a river.

What message would you like readers to take away from your collection of tales, legends, and poems?

I would like my readers to take away from my tales, legends, poems to enjoy nature, be yourself, enjoy life, and enjoy reading as much as you can too.

Is there a particular author or authors that inspire you?

Camilla Downs (my mother), Daisy Meadows, Helen Perelman, and L.M. Montgomery are the authors who inspire me a lot.

Are you still writing? If so, what types of stories do you write?

Yes, I still write. The types of stories I write now are mostly historical and fantasy stories on my blog which is

What is your favorite story that is in “Where Would You Fly”?

My favorite is all my stories in the book but if I had to choose just one, I would choose the story Princess Beauty.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I would choose lion or a snake as a spirit animal because I act fierce and hyper sometimes but other times I’m quiet like a snake.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

My ideal writing space is a writing desk with a computer, pens, pencils, piles of books, and erasers.

What are you currently reading?

I just finished “The Eyes of The Unicorn” by Teresa Bateman and “Meg, Joe, Beth Amy The Story of Little Women And Why It Still Matters” by Anne Boyd Sioux. I’m currently reading “Sea Monster” by Jordan Quinn which is part of a series called The Kingdom of Wrenly.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I paint, read, draw, be silly, hang out with family when I’m not writing.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I would choose Louisa May Alcott or Robert Frost. I would ask, “What’s your favorite story? ” to Louisa May Alcott or I would ask, “What’s your favorite thing about living in New Hampshire? ” to Robert Frost.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

The most surprising thing that I learned about myself through writing is that I’m humorous.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I used to journal write but I hope to journal write again. The journal writings haven’t helped with my book.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

Accomplishing going up and down stairs in San Antonio, TX is the most inspiring and crazy thing that has happened to me so far.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do? 

I would turn into Princess Britney for a day because she had a magical life.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

The last movie I watched was Mary Poppins Returns. I chose to watch it because it sounded intriguing and inspiring from the trailer.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

The penguin that was wearing a sombrero said in a Mexican accent, “Yum, do I smell nachos with Mexican-Italian cheese sauce?”

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

Yes, I believe things happen for a reason. Yes, I do have an example. One time I had a vision-like dream of one of my friends and I sitting on a bench in a school-like place and then I woke up. I found out that she was going to the same conference almost 3 months later.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

My humor, my love of nature, creativity, and my imagination have been very useful personality traits.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

I like to go to a conference every summer in a different city. As of so far, Savannah and Salt Lake City are my favorite cities.

Lillian Darnell is 17 years old. She likes to read, draw, paint, write, track weather and enjoys being in nature. She has 18p- which is a chromosome difference that affects 1 in every 56, 000 people.

Thank you Lillian for joining us today! It was magical learning more about you. –Camilla

Here’s a bit about the book:

Welcome to the radiant imagination of Lillian Darnell, a wonderful and unique human being, the kind who comes around only once in every 56,000 births, as she is missing the short arm of her 18th chromosome.

Leave this reality behind and enter enchanted lands awash in mysteries, happy endings, adventures, and inspiration. Come within and discover heartwarming and beautiful tales, woven with love and magic, brought forth from the imagination of a young woman with a different perspective. Lose yourself in wondrous adventures as you follow courageous, enchanting characters, kind animals and plant life, and graceful Mother Nature.

The delightful tales, legends, and poems within these pages were written by Lillian Darnell between the ages of four and fifteen. The stories and poems are mostly edited for spelling and grammar, yet the bulk of the stories remain as she originally wrote and published them to include a few grammatical errors and made up words.

Will a girls dream of becoming a princess come true?
How can sad, mischievous, fearful animals help humans feel emotions?
How did the world come to have color?

(Go here to view the interactive Google Pin Map of Where the Book Has Flown So Far)

“You can’t help but feel happy and be inspired while reading this book. Lillian’s stories jump straight out of her heart and onto the pages in an authentic, innocent, and loving way. The world needs more positivity and happiness and her stories are bursting with both. Thank you Lillian!” -G. Brian Benson – Award-winning and best-selling author, actor and TEDx speaker.

“Let your imagination be taken away with Lillian Darnell’s writings and allow yourself to be transported to places where anything is possible with love, joy and a touch of inspiration. This collection is born from a young woman with a unique perspective on how our world could be – immerse yourself and come, see the world through Lillian’s eyes.” -Dr Veronica Wain – Award winning filmmaker, Academic, Author, Disability Advocate

“Although all of us who love fairies understand that children, with their vivid imaginations, are closer to magic than any of us, we all yearn to retain that childlike sense of wonder. Lillian Darnell’s writings are a welcome reminder of what is possible when you dream big, and accept no limitations.” – Grace Nuth, Senior Editor – Faerie Magazine

Book Trailer:

**Artist: Nazar Rybak
Title: Children Fun Times

Sample story from the book:


Way back in the 1920s there was a lady in her mid-twenties who thought, “The art I have in my mind will eventually happen soon.” Her name was Artful. Three days later she created three paintings named Liletta, Tinletta, and Ciletta.

When Artful wasn’t around the three paintings talked about for whom they were thought to be made. One day Artful thought she had heard the three paintings talk, but she thinks that she heard nothing.

After that day, she hid behind a door and listened. Then she walked in and asked them about what they were talking. So they lied then. Artful had thought, “What can I do to make them truthful paintings?”

Just then a magical creature had appeared and it told Artful to take as many wishes as she could take. So three seconds later, they told the truth to Artful who explained the whole thing to them.

Artful was so pleased that she entered all three of the paintings in an art contest. Five days later, they won first prize and Artful was amazed.

To this day, they can be seen in art museums or an art book.

(Written February 2014 at 13-years-old)

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Loving Kindness Books (January 7, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980056839

Where to purchase the book and other links:

US Amazon:

UK Amazon:

France Amazon:

Canada Amazon:

Author Signed Copy:

Lillian Darnell’s website:

Chromosome 18 Registry: