Hey everyone!

Unicorn Riders is a brand new fantasy adventure series by my friend and writing colleague, Aleesah Darlison. I’m hosting Aleesah on Free As A Word today, part of her “We Ride As One!” Unicorn Riders blog tour. I’m talking to Aleesah about one of her favourite subjects, Heroes and Villains.

Gotta read em all!

Hi Aleesah, thanks for stopping by.
Thanks for having me Oliver, it’s great to be here!

Can you give us a brief overview of what the Unicorn Riders series is about?

Sure, Unicorn Riders is a fantasy adventure series for girls aged seven and over. It’s set in the mystical kingdom of Avamay. The main characters: Willow, Quinn, Ellabeth and Krystal ride magical unicorns and protect their kingdom from evil threats like Lord Valerian (the ruler of the neighbouring kingdom of Obeera) and his henchmen.

Sounds dramatic! What sort of adventures do the Riders get up to?

They rescue royal children from kidnappers, battle to protect cities from invading armies, fight dangerous creatures like eelioses and greaslies, and harness the magic of their unicorns to prevent invasions from evil rulers.

And do all four Riders feature strongly in every adventure?

The Riders usually do go on adventures together. There’s a strong focus on friendship and teamwork in all of the books. Each story is told from the viewpoint of a different Rider, so readers get to know each girl from the inside out. Already, I’ve found readers associating with one Rider or another and seeing each character as someone similar to themselves.

How hard is it to make each of your heroine’s different and unique?

It was hard keeping track of everything, especially at first, but I made sure that I planned everything out from the start. I even drew all of the characters – and I’m not a very good drawer! Each Rider wears a different coloured uniform and wears a unique symbol that represents their personality. I have to be careful to make the dialogue for each heroine unique, too. It was hard doing this at first, but now I’m onto writing my sixth book in the series it’s becoming easier as I get to know each girl better.

Do you think it’s important to have strong female leads in stories?

Definitely. It’s as important as having strong male leads. Young female readers love to see their favourite characters strong and empowered – and know that they can be the same in real life. I’ve really enjoyed creating my heroines for the Unicorn Riders series. I’ve made them strong and independent, yet also given each their own little foibles and ‘areas for improvement’ so they’re not perfect and so they have something new to learn on each of their adventures. I think this makes the characters more realistic and attainable to readers.

Every good story needs a villain.  How do you create yours?

I base them on people I know. No, I’m just kidding! My villains usually come from pure imagination. It’s actually loads of fun creating nasty, destructive characters and pitting them against my heroines to see how they will cope. Sometimes, I find the villains are stronger, more driven and dare I say it, interesting characters than my ‘nice’ girls. I have to be careful they don’t steal the show. I think we’re seeing this more and more in modern literature and film and television: the rise of the anti-hero. I don’t mind if my readers come to enjoy my villainous characters as much as they enjoy my heroines. The villains are just as important to the stories as the heroines are. Without both of them, there’s no story.

Thanks for your time today, Aleesah. I wish you all the best with the series. I know you have a whole bunch of other books, including some neat picture books out soon, can’t wait to see them!

Visit Aleesah’s final blog post for the “We Ride As One!” tour at Dee White’s Kids Book Capers, tomorrow, Friday 11 November : http://content.boomerangbooks.com.au/kids-book-capers-blog/

Previous tour posts can be viewed here:

Monday 24 October: Kids Book Review with Tania McCartney, Fun Facts About Unicorns,


Wednesday 26 October: Running With Pens by Kerri Lane, Marketing Your Book, http://kerrilane.wordpress.com/

Thursday 27 October: Books for Little Hands by Renee Taprell, Inspiration & Setting, http://booksforlittlehands.blogspot.com/

Friday 28 October: Running With Pens by Kerri Lane, Author Interview, http://kerrilane.wordpress.com/

Wednesday 2 November: Bug In A Book with Ang Hall, Meet the Unicorn Riders, http://www.buginabook.com/

Thursday 3 November: Read Plus with Pat Pledger, Series Review, http://www.readplus.com.au/blog.php

Monday 7 November: My Book Corner with Emma, Take the Unicorn Riders Quick Quiz, http://www.mybookcorner.com.au/

Tuesday 8 November: Need to Read This with Sally Hall, Author Interview, http://www.needtoreadthis.com/

Wednesday 9 November: The Book Chook with Susan Stephenson, The Importance of Strong Female Leads in Kids Literature, www.thebookchook.blogspot.com/

That’s all from me, catch ya soon!


About the author

I'm an author, stand-up comedian and teacher. My books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines and The Other Christy. I'm a massive Nintendo fan and love eating burgers. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @oliverwinfree

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