In her latest young-adult book series, Windsor author Jennifer Lynn Alvarez explores the difficult issues of slavery and cultural assimilation from the viewpoints of a 12-year-old boy and a wild Pegasus.
“This is a fantasy adventure,” she said. “It’s action, with themes of captivity, freedom and friendship.”
“Across the Dark Water” is the first of the “Riders of the Realm” tween trilogy. On May 1 the book will be released to the public and a launch party is planned at Copperfield’s Books in Santa Rosa, 775 Village Court at 4 p.m.
The celebration will include a short reading by Alvarez, a book signing, cake and prizes.
A hardcopy version of the book will be released the same day in stores nationwide as well as internationally in English-speaking countries. The e-book version will also be available online that day.
“Riders of the Realm” will be the second series written by Alvarez and published by Harper Collins. Alvarez said books she read on slavery, domestication and losing cultural identity influenced her and inspired her while writing “Across the Dark Water.”
“Those feelings I had when reading those books came up,” Alvarez said.
When Alvarez had the idea for her new series, she approached her publisher with a spin-off from her previously published four-part series, “The Guardian Herd.” She said her publisher pushed her to take the book into a new trilogy, instead of a fifth in the series.
“This is a brand new trilogy,” she said. “It’s the first encounter with people.”
People and horses have made a major impact on Alvarez’s life. She lived in five different states while growing up. She said those five different states had different cultures, styles and slang. Eventually the locations would make their way into her writing, representing the five herds in “The Guardian Herd.”
It was her love for horses that inspired Alvarez to write her breakthrough novel, “Starfire,” in 2012. Alvarez said she remembers writing in her diary at 15 about her favorite animal and declaring her ambition to be a published author one day.
At 19, she began submitting stories to publishers, none of which were accepted.
She said she felt that writing about horses was not a subject publishers looked for and she wrote on other subjects instead.
“I wrote a lot of books that didn’t get published,” she said. “I wrote a book for fun, that I wanted to read when I was 11 years old, and that’s the one that broke through.”
Alvarez, 47, lives in Windsor with her husband and three children. She teaches free writing classes through the Sonoma County Library. Alvarez is involved in the local horse community as the district commissioner of Santa Rosa Pony Club.