Author Rae Knightly is not who she says she is. The best-selling children’s book author writes under a pen name. And she chose the name because Rae refers to Rey from Star Wars and Knightly refers to a fantasy/science-fiction combination of the words knight and night. The Canadian resident is a master at weaving together high-stakes plots that take readers on a gripping adventure. Her award-winning work, The Alien Skill Series, has sold more than 50,000 copies. But she didn’t stop there. Last fall, she released the young-adult, dystopian novel, The Knowledge Seeker, to an audience of excited fans. Will she finally disclose her real name? Read on to find out.
I chatted with Rae to ask eleven questions that will give you an inside look at the author behind the books.
1. Do you think there is life on other planets?
Go for a walk on a beach. Pick up a grain of sand. That’s Earth. Now look at the rest of the beach. That’s the Universe. It would be egotistical to think that the Universe exists just for us. So, is there life on other planets? Of course there is! We have already found 5017 exoplanets in our neighborhood. With time, maybe we’ll find a way to determine if there is on life on some of them. By the way, ‘life’ doesn’t have to mean ‘little green Martians’ or ‘humanoids’. It can also mean some sort of bacteria, algae, insect, or moss. Now, whether intelligent alien life has already visited Earth is an entirely different question, to which I don’t (yet) have an answer. You can ask Ben Archer, though…
2. What is one piece of advice you have for other writers?
Trust your imagination! It’s what readers are searching for.
3. If we had a space program that offered trips to the moon, would you go?
Nope. Sorry. When I was little, I wanted to become an astronomer. That’s the person who studies the Universe sitting safely behind a computer on Earth. I didn’t want to become an astronaut, which is the heroic person who gets flung into space. I’m a bit of a wimp, so I’d rather send someone like Ben to explore in my stead. He’s a lot braver than I am!
4. What are you currently reading?
I just finished reading Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend and it’s absolutely brilliant! The author’s wonderful, imaginative writing takes the reader into a boundless world of fantasy. I highly recommend it for readers of Harry Potter and Keeper of the Lost Cities. Now I just started Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi.
5. What do you like to do on your days off?
A day off? What’s that? Just kidding! But, honestly, you don’t get a day off when you do something that you love. You want to do it every day - all the time! I’m very fortunate that I am able to work every day on my books. That said, I do love to take a break and explore the region where I live, as there is so much to see. There isn’t a lake or river or beach or mountain that looks the same, and I want to discover them all. I will always wonder: what’s behind that hill, and the next one, and the next…?
6. When did you first realize you wanted to write a book?
I first wanted to write a book around the age of 12. I ran out of books to read in the local library and wasn’t quite ready for young adult books (the library didn’t have many, anyway), so I had to resort to creating my own stories. However, it took me another thirty years before I was able to fulfill my wish of writing a book, most of all because I had finally reached a wise (?) and noble (?) age where I felt more knowledgeable, mature, driven, focused, and I was able to overcome the fear of getting my work judged by others.
7. Do you ever get writer’s block, and if so, what do you do to help?
I do get writer’s block and - although it’s very annoying - I’ve also come to accept it as part of the writing process. It’s OK to let the mind rest for a while. It’s OK to focus on other things. When I get stuck and the words don’t flow, I don’t force it. I go for walks, read, watch movies, and socialize. But when inspiration strikes, it strikes hard, and then I need to set loose a flood of words. Some other tricks I use is to write a random first sentence to get over the fear of the blank page, or I’ll listen to inspirational music that sets me in the mood of the story.
8. What’s the best part about being a writer?
The best part about being a writer is gifting people with an emotional adventure. When readers tell me that they continued to think about the book after they finished it, then I know I did a good job.
9. Aside from your own covers, do you have a favorite book cover?
Many of Rick Riordan’s covers are stunning, such as The Hidden Oracle or The Tower of Nero. I also love the new Dune cover by Frank Herbert: it’s simple, yet captivating. The Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee and Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman are also two fantastic covers.
10. Will you reveal your real name?
Artists don’t reveal their secrets! LOL! But, seriously, Rae Knightly is my store name, my brand name, my Hollywood alias, my superhero alter-ego. Cool things happen under that name! As for me, I enjoy the more down-to-Earth things that don’t need the limelight, such as watching a movie with my husband, playing in the park with my kids, or snuggling in a sofa with a good book, reading socks and Sleepytime tea. And, besides, Rae Knightly is a fun name, don’t you think?
11. What are you working on now?
I’m working on a new science-fiction series called The Lost Space Treasure, which I will publish in late 2022 /early 2023. It takes place in the same universe as Ben Archer, but has a completely separate storyline. Whereas Ben Archer is mostly based on Earth, The Lost Space Treasure takes place in a galaxy far, far away… I can’t wait to tell you more about it!
To find out more about Rae's books visit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G3LRJJ5
Connect with her on Instagram @raeknightly
On Facebook at www.facebook.com/alienskillseries
On Twitter @RaeKnightly
Journey to Zentobia
When ten-year-old Maggie and her older brother Peter discover a portal inside a rainbow, they stumble through it and end up in another world. But Zentobia is not what it seems. A sinister plot is brewing, and the amateur detectives are the only ones who can stop it. With danger on their trail and mysteries emerging, can they keep Zentobia safe before time runs out?
Perfect for fans of The Land of Stories series.
All magic is banished in Zentobia, but when an evil leader wants to bring back dark magic, Maggie and Peter risk it all to stop him. They join forces with the villain’s sneaky daughter who possesses a powerful secret. When Maggie’s instincts prompt her to investigate a hidden underground tunnel, she discovers a mysterious book carving that holds the answer to the future of magic. Before long, the siblings unravel more clues about Zentobia, including why it’s connected to their hometown by a rainbow. Can they stop the biggest threat Zentobia has ever faced and make it back to Hailsville, or will dark magic destroy the world forever?
With exciting twists and turns around every corner of this children's book, the journey for Maggie and Peter is just beginning.
Return to Zentobia
The action-packed sequel available now on Amazon!
Ten-year-old Maggie Miller discovers the Book of Magic is the key to defeating a villain and embarks on a quest to stop a sinister plot in this sequel that’s perfect for fans of The Land of Stories series.
After foiling a villain’s attempt to bring back dark magic in the mysterious world of Zentobia, Maggie and Peter learn a new threat exists. When the villain’s daughter sends Maggie a plea for help to locate the Book of Magic and save her mom, the siblings travel through the rainbow portal to rescue their friends in this action-packed sequel to Journey to Zentobia.
Securing the Book of Magic is no easy task, even for a seasoned amateur detective like Maggie. The book contains a powerful spell that will prevent dark magic from destroying Zentobia and spreading to Maggie and Peter’s home, but it’s buried deep in a maze of enchanted tunnels.
During their quest, dangerous beasts hunt them, vines transform to monstrous creatures, and rising flood water blocks their path. A wrong turn dumps the group into a secret world that’s evaporating by the minute. Casting a spell with an ingredient that’s hidden in an enchanted boneyard offers their only hope to return to Zentobia.
And when the villain’s daughter discovers she is the heir to the Book of Magic, will she deliver the spell to defeat her father? Or will someone unleash a bigger scheme with Maggie and Peter’s hometown as the target?
The Jessa Becker Files on Kindle Vella
Read the first three episodes for free!
New episodes each week.
When mysterious hit-and-runs rattle neighboring towns, investigative reporter Jessa Becker fights for a front-page story. After the bodies vanish, Homicide Detective Chase Donovan recruits Jessa to help solve the case and restore his disastrous love life. But danger emerges when they infiltrate the secret auction of a devious scientist who claims to raise the dead. Worse yet, Jessa is exposed as a target. With the biggest story of her career on the line, will she land it, or die trying?
Journey to Zentobia Five Star Reviews!
"What an enchanting, magical adventure! I had so much fun!
I absolutely loved this. I loved the sibling relationship b/n Maggie & Peter, & it made me miss my own brother. Lol I also loved the idea of the portal being in the end of a rainbow! So creative. The world building was amazing, & I felt like I was flying around w/them in Zentobia in my own flying shoes! Very atmospheric! I LOVE Zentobia-the rainbow, the waterfalls, the shoes, the talking animals, & so much more all sound so amazing! The story flowed so nicely, & there was always something happening, & high stakes as well-which make for a fast-paced read. Themes of friendship, family, never giving up, & doing what’s right. Highly recommend! Such a fun, exciting read. That ending has me needing a book 2 now! Loved it & want more. Can’t wait to see what happens-I’m assuming there will be a book 2🤞🏻Absolutely beautiful cover by Kim Dingwall as well!💜"
- Reviewed by Belle's Middle Grade
"Journey to Zentobia by Stacy D'Alessandro is an exciting, colorful sci-fi fantasy adventure that children will fall in love with. This author sifts together all the elements kids love, and some adults will find this engaging and entertaining as well. The writing is full of energy and emotion, with unexpected plot points and encounters. The pacing is just right, and young readers will instantly be locked into the story, thanks to the author's imagination and good instincts for what kids look for in a sci-fi fantasy adventure. For a pulse-pounding read, young audiences will love Journey to Zentobia by Stacy D'Alessandro.
It is a must-read."
- Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers’ Favorite
"This is such a brilliant middle grade read! I dove straight into it, after reading the blurb and think it is a brilliant story for young readers. It has a great level of detail, with fun and exciting characters. The story flowed so well and stayed exciting and fun throughout. I read portions of it to my daughter, and she loved it, thinking it was loads of fun. It is definitely one that I want her to read, as her reading level rises. Overall a great read and definitely one I recommend!"
-Natural Bri's Reviews
"Aimed at middle readers, the book has plenty of action and a lively style. Young readers will find this a reader-friendly selection, with the occasional vocabulary-building challenge to keep them on their toes."
- The BookLIfe Prize
"I bought this for my 10 year old son as he loves fantasy and adventure stories and I thought he'd like to read this. This book has got him completely absorbed it's amazing. He's not a particularly quick reader, gets bored very easily and drops things very quickly but NOT with this book! It's been days now and he is completely absorbed it so great to see he is getting so much enjoyment out of it. I've got my daughter asking if she can read it next... absolutely!! All I can say to you is, do buy it they'll love!" - Amazon review
"If your child loves fantasy fiction this is a great book to choose. My 9 year old loves the colorful characters and storyline. She's a big fan of The Land of Stories series (Chris Colfer) so Journey to Zentobia was a great find to compliment her taste."
- Amazon review
"My daughter really enjoyed reading Journey to Zentobia so much, and she didn't want to stop reading it!!! It was such a fun, intriguing, and captivating story with so much excitement and adventure! While reading this magical fantasy book, you feel like you are joining the main characters as they embark on such an enthralling and enchanting journey! Author Stacy D'Alessandro incorporates so much creativity, vivid imagination, and thrilling adventure into this lively and animated story. It is a wonderful and fantastic book for both kids and adults, and we really hope that there will be a sequel in the future!"
- Amazon review
Journey to Zentobia Book Trailer
Return to Zentobia Book Trailer
Stacy is a freelance writer who specializes in writing feature and business stories, press releases, author bios, newsletter and web site copy. To chat about a project you need help with or ask about pricing information, contact her direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Routine trips to Disneyland with her daughter played a role in Stacy's passion for storytelling.
Her daughter inspired the idea for Journey to Zentobia on a road trip home from one of their visits to the happiest place on Earth. They would pass a piece of paper back and forth in the car and each write part of a story. Her daughter's idea for a brother and sister to transport back in time through a rainbow portal stuck with Stacy for almost two years before she sat in front of the computer and began to write Journey to Zentobia.
Though she changed her daughter's original idea of the main characters going back in time to ending up in another world, the credit still goes to her innovative, young mind.
When she wasn’t working on this children's book, she wrote freelance stories for
newspapers and magazines. Prior to that, she worked in the public relations
industry in Las Vegas for more than 25 years.
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