Author Interview with Laura Bingham (author of Alvor)

For the last couple of days you have heard me gushing about the YA fantasy I just completed.  After reading the book, I knew I wanted to know more about the author behind this amazing fantasy, Laura Bingham.  Laura and I had first connected in July when she offered me the opportunity to read her book.  I connected with her again with questions after I had finished Alvor and Laura was gracious enough to drop everything and come visit me at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.  (Ok ok, maybe she didn’t drop everything… but she did answer my questions that I am now going to share with you.  🙂

Please welcome, Laura Bingham.

Sheila:  Hi Laura!  Thanks for stopping by today!  Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee, and lets chat awhile!  I just finished reading your book Alvor and loved it!

Laura:  Yes! So glad to hear.

Sheila:  What gave you the idea to write this style of book?

Laura:  Good question with kind of a bizarre answer. The whole story fell into my head about five minutes after I said that I’ve always wanted to write a book- but I didn’t always want to write a book. I still don’t know why I said that or why the story came to me.

Sheila:  Did you have a set audience in mind for this read when you wrote Alvor?

Laura:  I wanted to write a story that captured the elements of my favorite kids/YA books. It was meant for kids and teens, but I also wanted the story to have an element that sucked adults into it as well.

Sheila:  Is this your first book?

Laura: Yes, the first of many.

Sheila:  Well that is exciting news! I really enjoyed how you used twins, a boy (Bain) and a girl (Erin) as the main characters.  Why did you create twins for this main role in your book?

Laura:  That’s the way the story came to me. I even tried to figure out how to make the story not be about twins, but it didn’t work. It had to be twins. It helped that I have my own set of boy/girl twins and could project some of their characteristics into the story.

Sheila:  The word “Alvor” to me just speaks of mystery and fantasy… I look at the cover of your book and knew from first site that I wanted to read it.  Where did the title come from?  Does it have special meaning?

Laura:  Before I started writing, I spent a week researching the elements in the story to build a stronger foundation. That’s when I stumbled across alvor, alva and alv. They are Scandinavian words that speak of old legends. Alvor means fairy, but also the Latin root vor means truth- I couldn’t pass up such a perfect title.

Sheila:  Growing up did you have a favorite book?

Laura:  Growing up I wanted a favorite book. I read Watership Down, The Lord of the Rings books, and tons of junky books about babysitting or freaky girls- but none of them really were my favorite. It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I finally started finding books that I loved.

Sheila:  Do you have a favorite read or author now?

Laura: That’s a tough one. I admire different authors for different reasons. Some for the way they write and others for the way they broke out into the world with no fan base and a small press. I have so many favorites now that I hate listing them.

Sheila:  What is a little known fact about you?

Laura:  I spent a month touring Australia and New Zealand with a college dance team and I performed clogging, modern, jazz, ballroom and some folk dances. Most people put me in a clogging box since I own a clogging studio- but I have spent years doing other things. I coached drill team for a year, have competed in ballroom and Irish dance and have taught ballet, jazz and (swallowing hard) tap. Yes, tap. My Cloggers don’t even know that about me.

Sheila:  Wow!  Thanks for sharing that!  Without giving too much away, the ending of this book left a sense of more to come.  Is there plans for a second book?

Laura: My second book is undergoing revisions and editing right now. I love book 2. In so many ways I have liked it even more than the first one. As it stands- there will be a third book in the series as well.

Sheila:  A second and a third book?  Oh I cant wait!  That is such great news!

Thank you Laura!  Your time is appreciated and I hope that many of the readers here will go out and purchase Alvor.  I think this is an incredible read with a bright future!

Lauras website

Lauras blog

The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut by Paul Nowak


Written for young readers, The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut contains 4 short stories told by Jack, whose Uncle Chestnut comes to take care of him while his parents are away. Whether traveling, chasing after hats, or embarking on everyday adventures, Uncle Chestnut teaches a unique perspective on life and the world to his nephew.

Based on the writings and actual events in the life of G.K. Chesterton, this fictional book presents the wit and wisdom of the British writer in a considerably easier style for young people to read. Told through the eyes of his fictional nephew Jack, The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut introduces readers young and old to the writings of G.K. Chesterton, the British author whose prolific writing inspired C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Alfred Hitchcock, and others.

And how delightful!  Author Paul Nowak has graciously granted me an interview!

Thank you Paul for taking the time to join us at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

What inspired you to write this book?

paulPaul:  As influential and inspirational as Chesterton is, his books are not the easiest to read, especially for young readers. So I had the idea to create a character based on Chesterton in modern America, and introduce him and his views through fiction. Reading his Autobiography, and even his essays in which he describes his own personal experiences, he struck me as a strange cross of Mary Poppins and Amelia Bedelia.

That is an interesting cross!  I actually can picture that.  What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Paul:  Narrowing down the anecdotes, essays, and stories to pick which ones to include in the book. I’ve still got a lot of reading to do on Chesterton as he wrote quite a lot, and every day I find new material.

Do you have other books published at this time or plans to do so in the future?
Paul:  There are at least 3 more solid plans for Uncle Chestnut books, and probably more than that – at this point I just have 3 more almost done being plotted out. The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut is actually my fourth book, my earlier ones are The Way of the Christian Samurai and the Guerrilla Apologetics series.

When you were the age of your main character Jack, can you remember a favorite author?

Paul:  Jack London. Not just his adventure stories, but especially his more philosophical works like The Sea Wolf. However, I didn’t agree with his philosophy, I admired how he communicated it through fiction.

Paul went on to share a little bit of non disclosed trivia about the book, Jack is named after C.S. Lewis (it was a nickname of his) and Christie is named after Agatha Christie, who was the fellow member of the Detection Club with Chesterton.

My thoughts:  I was excited to have this opportunity to read this book. Told in a story format from Jack’s perspective, I really enjoyed the pace of the book. Reading this  book I found it had the rhythm of C.S. Lewis in his Chronicles of Narnia Series.  I found this interesting as I was not aware of the real C.S. Lewis connection until I finished writing my review and started communicating with Paul and reading more information on the book.

The book was a quick read and an enjoyable one.  There were moments I laughed out loud.  I liked that in the back of the book there was a page called “Words To Know”, that gave a definition of words in the book that young readers may struggle with their meaning.

My favorite passage in this books falls on pages 14 and 15 when Uncle Chestnut is explaining to Jack how people do not find where they live extraordinary because they live it every day and do not see from the perspective of an outsider looking in.  I quote:

“So people go about their lives, not noticing the giant on their mountain, or the great treasures they have.  They see the same things every day, and so think that these things are just plain and ordinary.”

“That is why,” said Uncle Chestnut.  “I believe in giants, fairies, and all kinds of things we cannot see.  Perhaps we are so tired of looking at the world that we don’t see them anymore.”

Well put Uncle Chestnut.  Well put.

To read more about this book and what’s to come please enter here:  Uncle Chestnut