Journey into Avalonia: An Interview with Bestselling Author Farah Oomerbhoy

Unveiling the Magical World and Inspirations Behind The Avalonia Chronicles

PHOTO: Author Farah Oomerbhoy immerses readers in the enchanting world of Avalonia, where magic and adventure await at every turn. Join her on a journey beyond imagination.

Farah Oomerbhoy, acclaimed author of The Avalonia Chronicles, shares her enchanting journey of crafting magical worlds and captivating young readers with her fantastical tales. 

Farah Oomerbhoy is the international bestselling author of The Avalonia Chronicles. Her first book, The Last of the Firedrakes, was originally published on Wattpad where it gained over two million reads and a Watty Award.

Wielding her love of the fantastical, Farah spends her creative time crafting magical worlds for young adults.

She lives with her family in Mumbai, India but can often be found checking closets for magic portals to Narnia.

What inspired you to start writing The Avalonia Chronicles?

I started thinking about this story nearly ten years ago, building the world of Avalonia, whenever I got time. The actual world creation started with a tapestry in my grandmother’s house. One day I stood before it and wondered, what if I could step into the tapestry, where would I end up? And so the world of Avalonia sprang into existence.

From then on, the person who stepped into the tapestry was a young 16-year-old girl who didn’t know who she really was. Her name was Aurora, and this is her story.

What drew you to write young adult fiction and use teenage protagonists?

Books with an element of fantasy and magic have always fascinated me and influenced the way I look at literature today.

I wanted my main character to be one to whom young teenage girls could relate, therefore the teenage protagonist. But at the same time, I wanted her to be strong-willed, capable and someone whom they could look up to as well.

Aurora is in essence a modern teenager. She has lived her whole life in this world with modern technology, so she is more relatable to the readers. She only enters the fantasy world of Avalonia after she turns 16. Everything is seen through Aurora’s eyes and the reader explores the world and finds out more about it along with her.

One of the main concepts of the story is that Aurora could be anyone; that at any point of time it could be you who could open a cupboard, enter a library, or step into a tapestry and be transported to a magical world.

In essence this is a coming-of-age story and revolves around a time in Aurora’s life when she has to learn to grow up and face life’s responsibilities on her own. She’s very naive at first and she is brave and curious too, not always the best combination.

She ends up making mistakes and gets into trouble just like a regular teenager would. It is only in book 2 that we will get to see the change in her character. It is a gradual process, and takes time but she will eventually adapt to her situation and grow up in the process, becoming the warrior queen she was always destined to be.

Many writers use music for inspiration while they write. Do you have any favourite music you like to listen to?

Not all the time. But there are times when I am writing a fight scene, I like to listen to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song. It helps me imagine the scene better and gives emotion to the writing.

What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of?

I have many favorite books and most of them are quite popular. But if I had to choose one that fewer people have heard of I would have to say Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon series. I read it when I was very young and loved it from the very first page. Subsequently I have re-read it many times and enjoyed it just as much. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Arthurian fantasy literature and hasn’t come across it as yet.

Which writers working today do you admire most?

Sarah J Maas is my absolute favorite author. All her books are superb and keep you turning pages late into the night. The worlds she creates are fantastic, as are her characters. I especially admire the way she can create multiple series at the same time and each one of her series have a distinct feel about them. Her Throne of Glass series is my favorite.

What genres do you especially enjoy reading? 

My favorite genre is young adult fantasy. But I also enjoy any other fantasy novels especially those that have complex magic systems and vast world maps.

There are times when I enjoy reading historical fiction and especially enjoy books that are set either in medieval times or Regency England.

What kind of reader were you as a child? 

As a child I was a voracious reader, I would read almost a book a day and sometimes even a two books at different times of the day. I still do that sometimes, although now I don’t have as much time to read as much as I would like. Being a mother of 3 it does get a little difficult.

Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? 

As I am a huge Sarah J. Maas fan, I would have to say Aelin Galathynius from the Throne of Glassseries.

What books and Authors have influenced your writing?

There have been many influences on my writing; from Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree series and C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia to T.H. White’s A Once and Future King.

Diana Wynne Jones’ magical worlds, Lewis Caroll’s Wonderland and Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea Quartethave all in some way contributed toward my love for magical adventures and inspired me to write fantasy for young people.

When I was young, David Eddings’ Belgariad series, Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara, And Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet, made me realise the true extent and scope of epic fantasy.

Of course more recently, Sarah. J Maas has also shaped the way I look at fantasy literature and better understand fantasy with a young woman as the hero of the story.

What brews in your creative mind to create these elaborate worlds in your books?

I’m not really sure where it comes from, and I didn’t really think I’d ever publish this book when I started imagining the world of Avalonia.

Middle-Earth, Narnia, Hogwarts, Neverland, Camelot and the worlds on the top of the Faraway Tree influenced my understanding of concepts within children’s fantasy literature as well as help shape the creation of the world of Avalonia

Initially, I just created the world. I enjoyed drawing maps, and writing down the history and culture of each kingdom, creating different societies and cultures, and it just kept growing and growing.

The creation of the world itself took me years. From detailed maps to notebooks filled with information on all the different kingdoms, their politics, societies, trade routes, race, cultures, etc. Each character has a backstory and a whole history including character traits, their likes, dislikes, family connections, physical descriptions, and more are all drawn out. In addition to all this, there is a whole mapping out of the magic system used in this world. Everything has to make sense.

Testimonials, Praise

“Farah Oomerbhoy is a great storyteller with a strong gift for character, plot, and conflict. Here is a story that will captivate fans of epic fantasy and readers who adore well-developed characters.”  Readers’ Favorite

“…the narrative components echo the classics; the Academy of Magic at Evolon could be Hogwarts, while the Shadow Guards are reminiscent of Tolkien’s Ring Wraiths or Rowling’s Dementors…a beautifully drawn fantasy world.”  Kirkus Reviews

“The Last of the Firedrakes is a magic-filled romp that carries you back to the fantasy stories of childhood…Lovers of classic fantasy will likewise gobble down Oomerbhoy’s scrumptious story.” – Vic James, author of Gilded Cage

“The Last of the Firedrakes has all the elements of popular fantasy – an orphaned princess, Magical powers, an alternate sphere with seven kingdoms, a young girl with a destiny to fulfil. They are all elements of the Narnia Chronicles, The Faraway tree, The Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings and a bit of Enid Blyton fun.”  Mid-Day newspaper

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