Saturday, February 28, 2015


An interview with Alisha Nurse, author of The Return of the Key.

Hi! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline. Can you tell us about your background as an author?

I officially became a published author on December 12th, 2014! I had been working on the novel on and off for three years. I love story telling but I hadn’t really considered becoming an author due to cognitive challenges I have as a result of fibromyalgia. In the end I just decided you know what, I’m gonna do it, even it means more work and takes longer.

What got you into writing?

I was going through a very bad depressive episode and I was searching for something to do to help me carry on. I had settled on the idea of writing a novel dedicated to my grandparents for their love. I have this thing where I have to finish anything I start so I thought writing a novel would be a good idea. Before that I only ever did creative writing in school. I however started blogging in my early twenties. It was compulsory for my university course and once I graduated I kept at it.

What was the first idea you had for your book, and how did the story grow from there?

The first idea stemmed from a dream. I have very vivid dreams and I remember that morning I woke up just enthralled by what I had seen in my sleep. The next thing I know I was scrambling for pencil and paper because I didn’t want to forget.  I then started thinking of how I could build a story around this dream I had had. I didn’t want to produce a story that was fluffy and superficial, I wanted it to have deeper meaning so I thought about some issues and things that are important to me and I crafted the rest of the story from there.

Among your characters, who's your favorite? Could you please describe him/her?

I really love the character called Loridel. She’s a supporting character, who is Gwragged Annwn, a kind of Welsh underwater faery who has contrary reactions to emotions. Loridel dresses in garments from the Tudor era, has pale skin and a crown of plaits. She’s enchantingly beautiful but her personality makes her quite peculiar. 

What's your favorite scene from your novel? Could you please describe it?

I don’t have a favourite but my most loved scenes are the ones where I got to really play with my imagination. One that tops the list is the part of the story where the group of friends is hijacked. The protagonist has fallen into a magical lake and her friends are in chaos looking for her but they also have to contend with this sinister faery who exaggerates everything. This quality makes her both spooky and hilarious. She is waiting for their boat to pull ashore and all seems lost. The friends are really despairing but they have to come to this place in order for it to get better. It’s the part where everybody learns lessons.

What's your favorite part of writing? Plotting? Describing scenes? Dialogue?

My favourite part of writing would be describing scenes, especially when I get to conjure up things out of this world. My least favourite would be writing dialogue. It puts me to sleep.

How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a writing process, or do you wing it?

Well this one took three years with a lot of hiccups in between and health issues but I think the second will take less time. I’ll likely do it in three months time with all the edits. I try to create a rough outline so that when I start writing I have a guide but sometimes the writing process just does its own thing and I let it flow.

What is it about the genre you chose that appeals to you?

Fantasy has appealed to me since childhood. There’s just something about worlds without the rules and limitations of our own universe that draws me in. It’s a means of escape from the troubles of this life and it drives my imagination wild! ☺

Are there any books or writers that have had particular influence on you?

J.R.R Tolkien’s writing has really inspired and encouraged me to try to be the best that I can be and I hope that one day I can be half as good the storyteller that he was. I’m absolutely in love with The Hobbit. To Kill a Mockingbird is my next favourite. It’s really endearing and captures the essence of human nature – what makes us dark but also what makes us good. I want to be able to do that with my own writing so that story really pushes me.

Did you ever surprise yourself when you were writing your book? Characters who took on lives of their own? Plot elements that took unexpected turns?

Yeah I’ve surprised myself a couple times lol. It’s funny when that happens because you’re writing and you think you’re in control but then that happens. It’s like creating characters with freewill who end up choosing to do something that you wouldn’t have them do. This is what makes storytelling so powerful. It comes alive, sometimes taking a path of its own.


16-year-old Eliza Aurelio grapples with her mixed race identity amid rising racial tensions on her little island. For their safety, Eliza’s grandfather sends her and her grandmother to a quiet town in Southwest England to stay with a relative. But this otherwise quiet town has been turned upside down by people mysteriously disappearing. Eliza eventually encounters a magical but dangerous realm accessible through a doorway in the town, and sees its connection to the abductions. She intends to put things right, only wanting to protect her family. To do this, she must return a stolen key to lock the open doorway. But Eliza has to overcome her own inner conflicts if she is to stand any chance of being successful and leaving the other realm alive. 

Suspenseful and enchanting, The Return of the Key explores the power of love, sacrifice and the journey to self acceptance.



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