Saturday, March 14, 2015

Realm Explorers Part XXXX: Visit Alasia with Annie Douglass Lima

Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels!  And don't forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured books. 

Author’s name: Annie Douglass Lima

Title of series: Annals of Alasia

Titles of books: The main trilogy consists of Prince of Alasia, In the Enemy’s Service, and Prince of Malorn.  There is a short companion book entitled Annals of Alasia: The Collected Interviews.

Brief summary of the story:

Each book in the trilogy deals with events surrounding the same major political incident: the invasion of the kingdom of Alasia by the neighboring kingdom of Malorn.  Prince of Alasia begins on the night of the Invasion and describes what happens to twelve-year-old Prince Jaymin after he is forced to flee for his life.  In the Enemy’s Service tells the story of those who were not able to escape from the Alasian palace when the enemy invaded.  Prince of Malorn begins several months earlier and focuses on the Malornian perspective of the events leading up to the Invasion.  In each of the books, main characters from the others make brief appearances and interact with each other at the point where the timeframes and settings overlap.  Though each of the three can stand on its own, they each fill in gaps left by the others and together provide a much more complete picture of what was going on in Alasia and Malorn.

Annals of Alasia: The Collected Interviews is a collection of twenty-four “interviews” I conducted with major and minor characters in the other three books.  Though not a novel in and of itself, it would be interesting to read alongside the trilogy.  In the interviews, characters reveal more about their personalities, motivations, and backgrounds, talking about themselves in their own “voice” and giving extra insights into the events of the series.  You can download it for free here.

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:

I’ll focus mainly on the kingdom of Alasia in this post.  It has four medium to large cities (Almar, Tainabi, Wistra, and Mosra), along with hundreds of smaller towns and villages.  Alasia is on a peninsula just north of Malorn, which is its only bordering nation.  Its culture, level of technology, etc. are much like that of medieval Europe.  The climate is warm in the summer and uncomfortably cold in the winter, though you won’t often find snow except up in the hills.  The people who live there are human, and there are no other sentient races.

If we were to visit Alasia as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?

If you enjoy swimming or sunbathing, Alasia has miles and miles of beautiful beaches, and you might see dolphins playing in the surf or sea lions sunning themselves there.  A large factory in the city of Wistra produces glass for the kingdom for both practical and decorative purposes; they give free tours, and there is a gift shop where you can purchase glass tableware and other souvenirs.  You should definitely make sure you stop by the capital city of Almar to see the magnificent palace on its hill overlooking the sea, although you probably won’t be allowed inside unless you have royal connections.

What dangers should we avoid in Alasia?

As in most cities anywhere, I would recommend staying away from low-income areas at night, especially if you’re alone.  Overall, though, Alasia has been primarily a safe and peaceful kingdom until recently.  Now, you’ll want to avoid the Malornian soldiers (easily identifiable in their red and black uniforms) who patrol the streets of every major city along with many of the smaller towns.  Though officially looking for the missing prince who slipped through their fingers on the night of the Invasion, they also tend to be looking for trouble.  Avoid antagonizing them or even catching their attention if you can help it, and if you’re lucky they will leave you alone.

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Alasia?

If you’re fortunate enough to be invited to a royal banquet, you will be served delicacies such as roast venison in a honey glaze, smoked salmon with lime sauce, and/or apricot stuffed quail.  At an average inn, you might eat roast pork or beef with gravy, mixed vegetables, and bread or potatoes.  In the coastal towns, little stands selling fresh grilled seafood are common.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Alasia?

The military uses broadswords and shields, along with bows and arrows. Twelve-year-old Prince Jaymin is skilled with both the bow and sword, though neither does him much good when he is forced to live in disguise.  Erik, Jaymin’s young bodyguard, is an expert in using unarmed combat against sword- and dagger-wielding opponents, which is a more useful and much less common skill.

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used for travel in Alasia?

Those who can afford one usually ride a horse, and many people in the middle or upper class also own a carriage, wagon, cart, or small buggy, depending on their occupation.  Boat travel between coastal cities is common as well.

Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Alasia.

Bow hunting is common throughout the kingdom, and garden archery is a popular hobby among the upper class.  It’s also common for wealthy families to have their sons trained in fencing (using unsharpened weapons only).  Many families entertain themselves indoors (especially on winter evenings) by telling stories, singing, or playing card games.  Outside, children often jump rope or play a sport similar to soccer.  Those who can’t afford a real ball will fashion a makeshift one from a bundle of rags tied up tightly with twine.

What is the political or government structure in Alasia?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?

Alasia is a monarchy.  King Jaymin III was the ruler until he was assassinated by invaders from neighboring Malorn.  Now the kingdom is under the control of Malorn’s Prince Korram, with Regent Rampus holding the reins of power until young Korram comes of age.  The Malornian conquerors have been gripping Alasia with an iron fist, levying new taxes and carefully controlling who is allowed to travel where.  They have also seized control of important products such as glass and have begun sending them back to Malorn.

Jaymin III was a benevolent ruler but not really in touch with the lives of citizens in the middle and lower classes.  His newly orphaned son, Prince Jaymin IV, has his eyes opened as he is forced to live in disguise in an especially poor part of a poor town.  Coming face to face with poverty and need in the lives of ordinary citizens, young Jaymin is determined to improve his people’s lives someday if he is ever able to claim his rightful throne. 

Author autobiography:

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published eight books (three YA action adventure/fantasy novels, a collection of character interviews, one puppet script, and four anthologies of her students’ poetry, all available through the links in the sidebar to the right). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?

Prince of Alasia 

In the Enemy’s Service 

Prince of Malorn 

Annals of Alasia: The Collected Interviews (available for free!)

Where can readers connect with you online? 


I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Alasia.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to the kingdom of Malorn, in Realm Explorers Part XXXXI!
-Annie Douglass Lima


Katy Huth Jones said...

I'm glad you're featuring Alasia today, Annie. I would LOVE to visit, but reading your books is the next best thing. :)

Annie Douglass Lima said...

Thanks so much, Katy! We'll be traveling to Malorn one of these days, too!

Shanna Hatfield said...

Love the map, Annie! Best wishes to you!

Annie Douglass Lima said...

Thank you, Shanna! I had fun making the map with Smart Notebook software. It's actually only half of the whole thing. You'll see the other half next week when I showcase the kingdom of Malorn. :-)

Melanie D. Snitker said...

Prince of Alasia is on my Kindle and in my TBR list!

Annie Douglass Lima said...

I'm glad, Melanie! I hope you enjoy it! :-)

Unknown said...

Great post Annie! What a fascinating kingdom :)

Mia said...

What a fun way to learn about this book series! It sounds like a great place to visit! Thanks for sharing at the Kid Lit Blog Hop!