Interview with author Jayra Almanzor


Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
Well, Stygian Rift is a science fiction revolving seventeen-year-old Robert. He wakes up in this unknown place the kids there call the “Chamber.” Every night, he gets traumatized by the monsters invading the place and killing at least a person each time.
As if that wasn’t weird enough, even eerier things start happening the moment Robert appeared in the Chamber and the kids there start blaming him for that. Now he must escape the Chamber with the help of fatalists or die trying. The question is, will they all make it?

What inspired you to write it?
I guess my inspiration came from various events that have happened in my life, and videogames. Some of you may know the games League of Legends, Pokémon, and Ragnarok Online. Those three games are the core of Stygian Rift. I was thinking, “what if monsters from Pokémon and Ragnarok Online invaded the world? Will it be a battleground like League of Legends?”
Then I slowly developed the idea revolving around overpopulation, and how the government may be hiding something about it. After a day or two of brainstorming, the first chapter of Stygian Rift was born.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
I’m not going to reveal much because this will spoil a major part of the book, but I was thinking of how much impact one of the characters, Anise, had on the book. I submitted this idea to the cover artist, Jenny Lehman, and she just painted the cover based on my description of Anise.

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
I don’t know much about actors, and I don’t really care who plays whom, but I think I’d like Miguel to be played by Shiloh Fernandez. Hayden will be played by probably Jake Abel, Maria by Emma Watson, and Robert by Morgan Freeman.
…I was joking about the Morgan Freeman part.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
I think it’s that you can manipulate science and add a dash of your imagination to it. You can basically do anything with science fiction!

What made you want to become an author?

I have loved reading from my early age and have always written short stories in my spare time. I think this contributed a lot to me eventually becoming an author.

How do you come up with character names?
Is it wrong that I like using baby name websites? I just search up name meanings I find suitable to the character and put them in my story.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
Definitely The Outsiders.

Who, or what, inspires you?

A lot of authors did. Erin Hunter inspired me to write my first ever (unfinished) novel and various young adult authors inspired me to write Stygian Rift. Veronica Roth, Lois Lowry, James Dashner, and Suzanne Collins, to name a few.

Where is your favourite place to write?
Most certainly the den. I like to crank up Rainy Mood and some emotional music and just write. I think music can really influence my writing and help pump my writing juice.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
I really liked The Outsiders because Sodapop was so cute in the film!

Name two of your favourite authors.
Veronica Roth and Erin Hunter.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
I’d get Mark Twain and ask him for writing tips. That man didn’t become a classic for no reason!

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I’m a vegetarian.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?

Someone short because I’m one of the shortest people I know… Vanessa Hudgens, I guess? Although she’s a bit taller than me, she’s the closest actress I can think of at the moment.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
Well. I live in Ontario, Canada. We have a really huge roller coaster called Leviathan and it’s as epic as its name.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
I want to write a lot of books in my lifetime. I’m currently writing a fantasy novel. Now that I know more about writing and the publishing industry, I’m planning on spending more time crafting this new novel.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
I want to change someone’s life for the better. Maybe through my writing? I want someone to say, “Oh, if it wasn’t for Jayra, I wouldn’t…” yeah. Sounds ambitious, right? But that’s about my main goal in my bucket list.

Favourite myth / fairytale?

I like the Norse mythology a lot. Maybe because one of my first names (I have three) is “Freya,” or one of my favorite videogames of all time, Ragnarok Online, centralizes on the Norse mythology. Either way, I’m really interested in the Norse.

Who/What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to become a veterinarian ever since I was a kid. However, as time went by, I slowly lost interest in it.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Jayra Almanzor began studying in Canada in the year 2011. Though she only knows how to speak three languages (English, Tagalog, and some French), she’s learned to treasure them. She enjoys writing, digital painting, playing video games, and most of all, eating bitter gourd. Whenever she’s not writing, she’s either playing League of Legends (or Pokémon) or drawing something that looks like a drawing a five-year-old would have drawn.

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