Interview with Alexis Marie Chute, Author of the 8th Island Trilogy

Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author? 

I have been writing since as far back as I can remember—and even before I could hold a pen. As a child, I was very creative and cerebral. I was always coming up with stories and adventures. Fortunately, I didn’t lose that trait as I grew up. I find writing inspiration everywhere, always. My brain is a sponge for my environment and stimuli. Sometimes this is overwhelming, but most often I use this hyper-awareness to my advantage.

What inspired the books you have written?

My memoir, Expecting Sunshine, arose out of the anxiety and introspection of my own life. I wanted to survive my pregnancy after the death of my son Zachary and not go crazy in the process. Coming out of it on the other side, sane and with a living baby, Eden, gave me hope that perhaps I had done something right. I wanted to share that hope with others who struggle with loss and growing their family in the midst of the storm of grief.

My 8th Island Trilogy - Above the Star, Below the Moon and Inside the Sun - was inspired by the belief that we go to extreme lengths to protect those we love. The trio of unlikely heroes learn that their past selves do not define their present bravery. They rally against insurmountable odds and discover that they possess strength they never imagined. In many ways, the trilogy is a fictionalized look at the resiliency of the human spirit. That is a topic I am obsessed with and optimistic about!

Review HERE!
Who is your favorite character in The 8th Island Trilogy and why?

I don’t like to pick, but if you promise not to tell the others: My favorite character is Ella. She is held back by her illness, but she still chooses to be strong for her family. She’s also smart, funny, and creative. She really cares about people, too; another reason she is so important in the story—especially as the trilogy continues.

Have you always loved fantasy and adventure novels?

Oh my goodness, YES! Ever since I was very young, I’ve loved fantasy, adventure, mystery, and magic novels. I have a visual mind and I enjoyed picturing the settings in these books and being carried along with the characters. I still remember so many of these novels I read when I was younger, like Ender’s Game for example, which is a very cool science fiction story and blew my mind when I first read it. 

What was your greatest challenge in writing your books? When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?

My greatest challenge in writing any book is getting my bum in the chair, overcoming that procrastination. Once I’ve gotten over the initial hump, and am in the flow, I’m good to go—until, that is, the end. Endings are just as challenging as beginnings. Then the next struggle is when to stop editing. I am a relentless, picky, and perfectionist kind of editor. There comes a point, however, when I need to hold back and declare a book, “FINISHED!!”
Free writing is the best tool I have found to break out of writer’s block. I sit down and simply start typing, no matter what it is. Getting my fingers moving and the mental juices flowing always opens the floodgates eventually.

Review Coming July 28th
What is the one book no writer should be without?

A dictionary and thesaurus. Though I use these tools online now, I am constantly referring to them while writing my books.

How do your spouse/significant other/friends/family feel about your writing career?

All the close family and friends in my life have realized that I am eccentric and am going to do what I want no matter how much they object, so they have defaulted to being amazing cheerleaders instead of challenging my unconventional career—which I am immensely grateful for!!

On a Friday night, what are you most likely to be doing? How has this changed since COVID-19 came onto the scene?
Friday nights are family movie nights in my house. My husband and I and our three kids will make pizza, wings, and popcorn, we put on a hero-centric movie (my kids have been obsessed with Marvel but I’m trying to sneak the odd 90's flick into our movie schedule), and we cuddle up together. My husband and I work so hard during the week, and our kids do the same with their school and activities, that we love crashing on Fridays.

Review coming Aug. 6th
Our schedules look very different now that we are all in self-isolation because of COVID-19. My husband works from home half the time, the kids are home 100% of the time, and I’ve always worked from home. Can you see the theme: home. It is our hub of family, work, and school life now. Being a glass-half-full kind of person, I am loving the additional time with my family and am seeking to make the most out of every professional opportunity while this pandemic continues. It’s all about resiliency, supporting each other, and seeing the beauty in life despite the pain. This is a season and it too shall pass.