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Teen

Stay True to Who You Are:
Scott Reintgen on the Nyxia Series and His Advice for Teens

by Dena McMurdie

The action-packed Nyxia series by Scott Reintgen is quickly becoming a favorite amongst teenage readers. With its authentic characters and realistic world, it’s no wonder YA fans are getting hooked on this series.

With the release of the second explosive book, Nyxia Unleashed, I had the opportunity to catch up with Scott in an interview for Brightly. Keep reading to learn more about the inspiration behind the series, how he got started writing, and his advice to Nyxia’s readers.

You were an English teacher before you became a published author. When did you decide to get into publishing? What inspired you to take the leap?

The inspiration to become a published author — and to teach — really goes back to my junior English teacher. I shared a chapter of a story with her and the next day she (illegally) switched me into a Creative Writing class. She saw the passion I had and encouraged me to pursue it unapologetically. I decided then that I’d do whatever it takes to get a book published.

What is your favorite part of writing books for teens?

I think the idea of possibility. Anything can happen. You have so much opportunity, so much ahead of you. One of my characters in Nyxia actually says the phrase: “Unlearn your idea of impossible.” I think it’s really fun to open up new worlds for teenagers and remind them that their entire lives are waiting.

The world you dreamed up for the Nyxia triad is complex and realistic. What inspiration did you draw from when creating it?

Everything! The world that’s featured in Nyxia Unleashed is really inspired by Dr. Neil Comin’s book What If the Earth Had Two Moons? I love some of the theories he uses in that book, and I did my best to craft a fantasy world out of the logical science he set out for readers. It also helps that I played a lot of World of Warcraft growing up.

How did you develop Emmett and the other characters of the Nyxia series?

I was very fortunate to be teaching when I first created Emmett. What better way to write authentic teenagers than to go directly to those teenagers? My first crew of beta readers were all students. And high school students have no problem with honesty. I received a lot of crucial notes that helped me write characters that were real enough to walk down the hallways of our school and fit right in with all the students I taught.

Emmett faces numerous challenges to his morals and his humanity. What, if anything, do you hope readers learn from Emmett’s story?

No one has asked that question, and I think it’s such a good one. I was told long ago that one of the most powerful things any teenager can do is stay true to who they are. There is so much pressure — from peers, from teachers, from parents, from advertisements — to redefine yourself as the rest of the world would like you to be. I always think it’s powerful when students resist that temptation in favor of expressing their creative truths, their personalities, and their perspectives. I hope every student who reads Emmett’s story sees the power, and the reward, of staying true to who you are against all odds.

Do you have any new projects that you can tell us about?

So this series is done. I’ve finished book three. It’s in the final stages of the editing process, and I’m thrilled. Next up for me is a middle grade series currently titled When in Fancy. It’s about a young girl who auditions at Protagonist Preparatory so she can train to be a character in a book. Unfortunately, she fails and gets stuck in the side-character track at the school. She has to figure out if someone like her can really be the hero when it matters most.

I’m also working on my next young adult series. I can’t give too much away, but it has a ton of action, some of my favorite characters ever, and the coolest premise of any book I’ll ever come up with. Kind of unfortunate that I’ve peaked already, but it means a good book for readers is coming soon!