Magic and Alchemy: Inside the World of Halayda – Guest Post by Sarah Delena White

Today I’m happy to host Sarah Delena White for a guest post.

Her debut novel Halayda releases today. Be sure to check out all the info below.

First, Sarah’s going to play tour guide and show us around the world of Halayda. And what a fascinating world it is.


I love epic fantasy. For years, I dreamed of writing a sweeping quest tale set in a land with ancient lore and world-ending stakes. Just one problem: every time I tried to write a story following classic epic fantasy conventions, I got bored and abandoned the manuscript.

Even though more and more authors are subverting the stereotypes, epic fantasy is still infamous for reusing the same tropes.

  • Setting and culture based on Medieval Europe? Check.
  • Archetypal cast of characters? Check.
  • Elves, dwarves, and goblins? Check.
  • Inability to invent anything higher-tech than a sword? Check.

As a reader, I’ve enjoyed quite a few stories like this, but as a writer, I wanted to try something else. When writing Halayda, I decided to approach my story world from a new angle. Rather than crafting a world based on what readers might expect to find in epic fantasy, I fused together any elements I thought would serve the story or make it more interesting—no matter how random!

Halayda was influenced by everything from ancient Celtic mythology to Deep Space Nine to CW’s superhero shows, with elements of mythology, sci-fi, and steampunk mashed together in a trippy, epic world.

Magic + alchemy

Funny thing about magic: it doesn’t usually coexist with science, at least in epic fantasy. But why?

Put magic and science in the same world, and it can open up a whole new realm of conflict and other possibilities.

In Kyure (the world of the Star-Fae Trilogy), there has been tension between fae magic and mortal technology and alchemy for centuries. The progress-driven steampunk society of Sabellyn clashes with the low-tech, nature-focused fae realm. When things finally explode (literally), it makes for all kinds of messy fun.

Magic and science don’t have to be enemies, though—the protagonist in Halayda uses both at once!

Fantasy world + interplanetary and interdimensional travel

This concept usually belongs in sci-fi, but it fit perfectly into the world of Kyure. Faeries often inhabit a separate dimension—an idea that goes all the way back to early Celtic myths, which featured immortal lands (such as Tir Na Nog) and underworld-like realms.

But why stop at one? It was only a little more of a stretch to give the people of Kyure a knowledge of an entire universe… and even multiverse. Even though we only see one of these worlds in Halayda, the existence of others plays a significant role in the story—and also opens up plenty of possibilities for sequels and spin-offs!

World-ending stakes + everyday problems

Just because you’re fighting an evil overlord doesn’t mean you’re exempt from the rest of life’s struggles. The specially-gifted savior still has to learn how to fly without smashing into windows, and figure out whether her crush likes her back (much easier said than done).

Alchemical experiments can wreak havoc on your best dress.

Sewers aren’t pleasant in any world, even if they are the quickest escape route when you’re fleeing from said evil overlord.

Then there’s the greatest challenge of all: making oatmeal edible (sorry, Taylan!).

Being epic doesn’t have to mean overlooking the small things that make characters and worlds relatable.

Genre mashups are loads of fun to write, and they’re becoming more and more popular.

Do you have a favorite mashup? What are some genres you would love to see fused?


Pretty neat, huh? Personally, I enjoy fantasy stories that aren’t afraid to explore outside the confines of the trope box. Here’s a bit more about the tale that takes place in this stunning world.

Halayda blurb

A mortal alchemist. A faerie king. A bond that transcends death.

Betrayed by a trusted mentor, Sylvie Imanthiya hides on the fringes of society, caring for half-fae orphans and trading her alchemical creations on the black market. She lives for the one night each season when she can see her dearest friend—a man whose destiny is far above hers.

King Taylan Ashkalabek knows better than to exchange halayda vows with a mortal. Even their friendship is a risk; love is an impossible dream. Then a brutal alchemical attack poisons his realm, unearthing a dark power within him—and leaving Sylvie with the ancient mark of Faerie’s savior.

Manifesting unpredictable abilities and aided by allies with their own secrets, Sylvie and Taylan journey into the wilds of Faerie to heal the damage and confront Casimir, an invincible star-fae determined to claim the realm as his own. But only their enemy knows Sylvie’s true capabilities—and Taylan’s weaknesses—and how to use them in his vicious schemes.

Her fate is life. His fate is death. With Faerie in the balance, Sylvie and Taylan must stand together before reality as they know it is destroyed.



Social media

There’s also a Facebook Party on March 25, 8:00 p.m. EST.

Author bio

Sarah Delena White was raised by wolves in an alternate dimension. She writes eclectic speculative fiction that reworks mythology with a fine balance of poetry and snark. She’s an experienced world traveler who loves to weave world folklore and ancient concepts into vibrant, original story worlds. She is also the Benevolent Firebird (acquisitions editor) for Uncommon Universes Press. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found making jewelry, singing Irish ballads, drinking tea, and working a variety of odd jobs. She can be bribed with dark chocolate.

Blog tour schedule/links


Magic and Alchemy: Inside the World of Halayda – Guest Post by Sarah Delena White — 5 Comments

  1. Thanks for this. I was hooked by the steampunk dragonfly on the cover. But reading about all the influences for this story and finding out that it’s actually a mashup of my favorite genres makes me want to read it all the more.

  2. Pingback: Halayda Blog Tour and Launch Party – Uncommon Universes Press

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