Author Spotlight: Barbara Underwood, author of the Rhuna series
I recently had the opportunity to meet Australian author, Barbara Underwood, during the Brains to Books Cyber Convention and we had a great time chatting during my Readers' Fantasyland. I was interested in her books because she doesn't create a pure fantasy story, but rather, she incorporates magical practices such as meditation and out of body experiences to create a kind of Historical Fiction story. Her Rhuna series is a unique experience for all ages.
Book Genre: Fantasy /YA /Magical Realism
Suggested Reading Audience: Young to old adult
Content Warning: None
Book blubs for the Rhuna series:
Rhuna, Keeper of Wisdom
Unique Historical Fantasy! "wonderful imagery" "delightfully creative imagination" - Maria Flanagan "a mystical tale of ethereal beauty"- Barry Have you ever wondered who built the pyramids or the eerie statues on Easter Island - and how they were made?
Maybe they were made with superhuman powers - or magic - by a highly advanced civilization like Atlantis!
And maybe there was a young girl named Rhuna who finds out that she has these powers, and that she is the only one with special magic to defeat the Dark Master who has brought evil and chaos to her idyllic utopian civilization. "I can honestly say that I love her writing style. The way she describes things is amazing - makes you feel like you are there experiencing it all first hand." "The way that the story in a whole is written is amazing also. Rhuna - is a young girl who is trying to find herself and about her past. ...you have to read this book and by doing so that you will enjoy the different characters who are involved in the story. " You will also find that this is one of those hard to put down once you start reading type books." - Sue Ann B
From the Back Cover
In the distant past, when a utopian civilization built the pyramids and other megalithic structures using magical powers, a young girl named Rhuna learns the truth about her father and the enemy that caused his demise. The idyllic civilization in which she flourishes and finds love is threatened by this old nemesis, and only Rhuna possesses the special inherited skills to stop him.
The sequel to Rhuna: Keeper of Wisdom, and the second book in an exciting and unique historical fantasy series!
Rhuna: Crossroads is set in exotic Ancient Egypt and features unforgettable characters and a riveting adventure. "full of twists, many unexpected" - Melissa "fast paced and quite a page turner" - Simone "a gripping sequel" - amazon reviewer Some years have passed since Rhuna helped to defeat the Dark Master in her new home of Atlán, and now Rhuna has a teenage daughter who accompanies her on an assignment in Ancient Egypt to investigate some disturbing reports. She soon discovers an astonishing underground network of the Dark Master's followers, along with the secret group of Atlans dedicated to stopping them. In the process of trying to carry out her assignment, Rhuna is confronted with enormous challenges that could drastically change her entire life and everything she has ever believed in! "Barbara Underwood does an awesome job of vividly describing her characters and describing the fast-paced plot of the story." - amazon.com reviewer
Rhuna, The Star Child
This thrilling sequel to Rhuna: Crossroads is set in mystical Ancient Egypt where Black Magic was developed by the followers of the legendary villain, The Dark Master. As strange and frightening curses plague the population, Rhuna discovers the underground organization that performs this uncanny new magic, but she can only combat it with the help of her long-lost father. Having learned from her father amazing new skills to empower her on the Astral Plane, Rhuna once again strives to preserve peace and harmony in the idyllic Atlan civilization.
Far more challenging than fighting powerful Dark Forces, however, is Rhuna’s personal anguish when her daughter becomes involved with the leader of the Black Magic movement, and the once-perfect Atlan society based on utopian principles begins to crumble all around her. Shocking events escalate Rhuna’s world to a breathless climax as she and her family undergo a momentous upheaval, and she is forced to make great personal sacrifices for her loved ones.
Purchase the Rhuna series at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com:
Rhuna, Keeper of Wisdom
Rhuna, The Star Child
What made you decide to become an Author and write a book or a series?
It was just something I had to do – no logical decisions or anything involved: I just felt compelled to write – and keep on writing!
Why did you choose to write in your genre and what are some of the difficulties associated with the
When I had decided on the subject, setting and themes of my book, I knew it could only fit into the Fantasy genre, but I think it could fit into many other sub-categories as well, and this is the difficult aspect of the genre: it’s so huge, and despite its many sub-categories, it’s still difficult to label my books accurately to reach or attract the right kind of readers.
What is your favorite book you have written? What was the hardest part to write?
The second book in the series, “Rhuna: Crossroads” is my favourite so far. The hard part was getting loose ends of the storyline tied up neatly and at the right time so that it all reads smoothly as you get near the end!
Who is your favorite character to write for and why?
Right now it’s Goram, the former “bad guy” who has good qualities and isn’t completely bad. It’s an interesting balance of negative characteristics working in a positive way. I enjoy writing his character because he is so outspoken and you never know what he’s going to say; unlike the other characters who are generally a bit predictable.
What is your writing process? Do you have the story planned out or does it surprise you as you write it? Do you write at night, or in the morning? Do you listen to a play list?
I have a general outline or basic foundations that I’ve decided must be in the story, but then I add the details and any sub-plots as I go along, and as they come to me. Some of my best ideas actually come while writing, so I like to surprise myself!
Lately, I’ve been finding that night time is the best time for me to write. And lately I often listen to a certain play list to put me in the right mood or to create the right atmosphere for the scene I’m going to write.
Do you enjoy writing a series or individual stories?
So far I’ve only written 3 books in a series, so that’s all I know, but perhaps later , if I get a great idea for a single story/novel, I’ll enjoy writing that, too.
What are the strangest events or advertising methods have you used to get your name and books into the public eye?
I had to think about this one. Not sure if it’s really “strange”, but I made some flyers to advertise that my book was available to buy at the local newsagent, and I put them up in a few unusual places where they had noticeboards, such as McDonalds and the Pharmacy.
What would you like your readers to know about you or your books?
I guess I’d like readers to know that rather than being pure fantasy, the things I write about are based on research, and are grounded in history and mysticism. And as such, they could be described as Magical Realism or even Historical Fiction because most of it is down-to-earth, and thereby not your typical “high fantasy” novel.
Looking ahead, what can we expect to see from you in the future? What are you working on?
More books in the series! Each book has either a new setting or new ideas, themes, problems for Rhuna to deal with and so on. So it’s never the same, and almost like reading a new or standalone book each time. I’m about to start book 4, which will be set in Ancient India and will feature some new concepts I haven’t used in the earlier books.
Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Barbara has loved to write since early school days, and has now combined her travel experiences and interests in history, folklore and people in this fantastic adventure. She now resides in Tumut, New South Wales, with her husband and their dog, Cisco.
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/946941.Barbara_Underwood
Barbara’s Blog: http://barbaraunderwood.blogspot.com.au/