Happy Valentines Day! 💗 I’ve had the pleasure of working with author Sydney Scrogham these past few weeks who is such a talented and fun writer. Oh, and we both LOVE the show Castle which makes us instant bff’s in my book ;) so when she agreed to answer a few questions for my readers I was thrilled!
Her most recent novel, Ariel: The First Guardian, is the second book in her “Guardians of Agalrae” series but it is the first in a prequel trilogy (and I have been given the huge honor of providing my readers with an exclusive FIRST LOOK at the cover for the sequel due out this spring!)! This novel is full of romance, adventure, magical creatures and the beauty of healing. So without further ado, allow me to introduce Sydney in all of her horse-loving, magical realm-creating magnificence!
The Biblio Life: Hi Sydney! First and foremost I want to thank you for taking the time to be here today. I absolutely loved reading your most recent novel, Ariel: The First Guardian, and I cannot wait to share it with my readers! This book is full of magic, adventure, faith, love, loss and healing, so my first question is this – What was your inspiration in creating such an interesting fantasy world? (For those who don’t know, the world of Agalrae is multi-layered and sort of parallel to our own world, and it has magical creatures called “Alicorns” that are similar to the unicorns we know today but they are able to talk and fly…oh and they come in really cool colors!)
Sydney: I grew up with the old school My Little Pony (before it turned into the creepy thing it is today – my opinion), Bionicle Legos, Breyer model horses, and The Chronicles of Narnia. Between all the books and movies for those lines, everything bled together into something that I wanted to make all my own. There’s a piece of writing advice I got from an editor in high school – “Make something up that’s completely your own.” Agalrae has been that for me. Even as I continue writing the series, I’m learning more and more about the world. The setting itself is based off of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where I grew up. Skyline Drive is a wonderful scenic route – try it sometime!
The Biblio Life: I found the romance in this book very intriguing because it’s not the typical “boy meets girl, breaks her heart, then they get back together” play by play. Ariel has demons from her past that she needs to face, and in the process her and Ryan (her ex-boyfriend for those just jumping in) go through some ups and downs as far as learning what they need/want and truly falling for one another. Ariel’s healing process from past abuse is a major theme, but there’s also a lot of patience and understanding. What would you say that you want readers to learn from Ariel and Ryan’s relationship?
Sydney: Real relationships are made from being vulnerable and real with each other. There’s this big swing right now with erotic relationships from 50 Shades of Grey, and even though they are “two consenting adults,” the activities in that book are definitely borderline abuse. I got tired of reading about superficial romance because that’s not the way it’s designed to be. True love means not controlling the other person and always seeking what’s best for them. I want readers to experience that through Ryan and Ariel and have the courage to chase that true love for themselves. It definitely isn’t easy to build, but it’s possible!
The Biblio Life: Okay, stepping slightly away from the book for just a moment. You and I have had some conversations about our mutual love for horses and the equestrian life, but Alicorns? They are fascinating! Would you mind telling our readers a bit of your background in the horse world as well as the inspiration behind such a unique species?
Sydney: Alicorn isn’t actually my term… It’s a My Little Pony thing. I believe the characters there are called alicorns as well. Way back in the day when I first started with the series (I was about 15), it was pure My Little Pony and Beanie Baby fan fiction. My young heart was crushed when I contacted Hasbro and they said I couldn’t use their copyrighted names – I wanted to write for them so badly! But alas, I had to go back and change a lot of the details, and as I did, I came up with my own version of Alicorns (and my own names).
The Biblio Life: As I mentioned previously, there are some running themes in your book (romance, recovery and healing from abuse, faith, etc.) but what would you say is the main takeaway that you’d like readers to get from your book(s)?
Sydney: It’s possible to stop letting an event of the past control you. I see many people (myself included) who let the wounds of the past control their current circumstances. It can even prevent them from experiencing positive emotions, too. You’re way more than the things you’ve been through, the awful things people have said to you, and the people who’ve walked out on you. I want readers to get connected to their truest selves (like Ariel does in the story) and begin to live from that place.
The Biblio Life: Again, I want to thank you for taking the time to be here today Sydney! One last question, and then anything else you might like to add for our readers would be fantastic! Ariel’s journey of self discovery, healing, and love is absolutely magical and I can’t wait to see more from you! Is there talk of another book in this series, and if so, can you give us any hints as to what’s coming next?
(keep reading for a synopsis & to see the gorgeous cover reveal for Sydney’s next novel!)
Sydney: I actually just got the cover for a sequel this week! I’m continuing the story through Seth and Rebecca – two side characters that show up in Ariel’s story with Ryan. Then there is one in the raw, editing phase as a sequel to Seth and Rebecca’s story. So that’s two more books coming that are written so far, and there’s at least one more in my head planned as a sequel to the original, “Chase.” Ariel’s story and the other two in production I mentioned are all part of a trilogy prequel to “Chase” that dives into how he came to be and what his purpose is. Once the trilogy prequel is complete, my goal is the sequel to “Chase,” which will take place in our human world (or at least start there). There will be lots of magical realism themes and tie up all the loose story ends that the prequel trilogy uncovered. There are a couple villains that haven’t been slain yet, and I’m looking forward to bringing all of the characters back together. Here’s a peek at what’s coming next for Seth and Rebecca:
Rebecca has all the love, support, and sunshine she ever wanted with her Guardian partner Seth at her side. The trouble starts one day when letters arrive from her deceased elven father. She has inherited a position of power and will be forced to return to a frosty homeland she swore to forget.
Home is worse than she remembered. The underworld is preparing for war and the elves are divided regarding who should lead them—the immortal council or a dictatorship under Rebecca’s mortal half-blood. Her grip on her safe world falls apart when Seth is thrown in prison for treason.
Unable to forgive her family for the wounds inflicted upon her long ago, Rebecca is left alone with her inner demons as darkness descends. Bitter barriers consume her and she finds herself playing into the hands of the underworld she swore to destroy. Forgiveness is the only way to save her soul, and that’s not something she’s willing to offer.
SYDNEY SCROGHAM loves creating happy endings. She started writing when she was 12. Her first book, Chase, was published by Koehler Books in August 2015. When she’s not writing, she’s at the barn with her horse Snowdy or catching up on reruns of the best TV show ever – Castle. She is a new resident to the Indianapolis, Indiana area. To learn more, visit her website at sswriter.com and don’t forget to check out her other media outlets below: