Interview with Novelist Alexandra Engellmann (Sky Ghosts series)

Alexandra Engellmann never planned to become a writer. When at 18 years old she got an idea for a book, she was working as a tech support supervisor for a big dating site. Five years later, the book became all she could think about, and she left her day job, scarred for life.

Her first book has since turned into a series in the young adult urban fantasy genre, and the two books of her Sky Ghosts series are now available at Amazon. Alexandra works as a freelance artist, creating book covers for fellow authors, which can be found on her website: Her free time she spends writing, tweeting way too much, nerding out on movies, and occasionally riding her mountain bike.

Read more about Alexandra and support her on Patreon
Connect with her on Twitter: @engellmann

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alexandra_engellmannInterview with Alexandra Engellman:

Matthew Toffolo: What is the general theme and tone of your Sky Ghosts Series Novels?  

Alexandra Engellmann: It’s a humorous Urban Fantasy with a dark twist. Unlike in many popular Fantasy series for young adults, in my books the bad guys don’t vanish into thin air after the killing. However, the readers say that the characters’ easy interaction balances the brutal part of the action.

MT: Why should people buy your novel?  

AE: It’s the kind of fantasy book you want to escape into. That was my favorite thing to do when I was younger and read dozens of books a month. Not all of them could do that, but I remember every one that did. They had a cast of characters based on friendship and community, not romance (as it’s mostly done now). If you’re looking for another fantasy world to escape to, something different from the usual magic worlds, werewolves and vampires, my book series is for you.

MT: How would you describe your novel in just two words?

AE: Captivating. Gripping.

MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?

AE: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (American version). It has this incredibly beautiful atmosphere that I can’t get enough of. There’s actually a hacker character in my book named after Rooney Mara, who played Lisbeth in the movie.

sky_ghosts_marco_goodreadsMT: Was being a novel writer something you’ve always dreamed of doing?  

AE: No. During my teenage years, I was more interested in music. Writing was something more of an accident, when I got an idea and decided to try. The story captured me, and a few years later, I realized very clearly that this is what I could do for years. Now I have many more stories to tell, and I’m very happy to be a full-time writer.

MT: Do you have an all-time favorite novel?  Have you read a novel more than once? 

AE: It’s David Eddings’ The Elenium series. I’ve read it two times in Russian and now two times in English. It’s interesting to re-read it years later, seeing it from a writer’s point of view, but I still love the characters. For me, it’s one of those safe books that I can turn to whenever I need to relax and don’t want some new book to annoy me with something.

MT: What motivates you to write? 

AE: Escape from reality. Not the world, really, but the distractions all around me. When I write, I’m focused only on the story, and it’s a relief for someone with high anxiety, like me. I also make illustrations and book covers for my series, but even when I paint, I’m not that focused.

Another reason is the need to form my characters’ stories into words. I have about a hundred scenes in my head for the four future books, and it sometimes gets annoying.

MT: What artist would you love to have dinner with? 

AE: I could make a huge list of the famous people I’m obsessed with. I’ve always had this fascination with their stories and how they got where they are now. But honestly, I’d rather meet someone accidentally and let it be a surprise.

MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about? 

AE: As I said above, drawing. Digital art has become my passion together with writing, when I decided I would paint my own covers. Just recently I got to the part where I actually want to study drawing, and I have this huge list of things I want to practice, but writing is my top priority for now.

Music and movies are another big part of my life, and I can’t live a day without a good movie and a good 8tracks playlist in the background when I write or draw.

MT: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers? 

AE: Never give up on your story, no matter what obstacles are in your way. It’s all only in our heads. It took me years to finish the first draft of my novel, and then one more year to re-write it in English, and I’m not even talking about the countless changes and a complete revision after that. But if I could do it, so do you.


Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.


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