While most authors write about what they know, Gainesville woman Alison Reeger Cook likes to learn about what she writes.
“When I get inspired about something I want to know more about it,” she said. “I like writing about stuff I don’t know about yet, so that I can learn more about it.”
Cook, who goes by the pen name A.R. Cook, recently released her latest young adult novel — the final installment of a three-book series based on various types of mythology. Although she’d previously studied Greek mythology, she wrote and subsequently learned about other types of mythology in the writing process.
“The Scholar and the Sphinx and the Threads of Fate” tells the story of David Sandoval, who meets a living Grecian sphinx while on his way from Spain to Paris for an apprenticeship. Set in 1852, the two travel between that world and one where anything magical and mystical resides. Together they take on Greek Goddess Nyx, who has been taking traits from mythical creatures and killing them in the process.
“It’s kind of a world tour of various mythologies,” Cook said of the book. “This is as if the Percy Jackson series took place in the Victorian era because it’s a lot of different mythological creatures meet the real world.”
The book was released June 28 and is available on Amazon.com and at most book retailers. The book’s release has experienced a delay with Barnes & Noble.
The other two books in this series are “The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Fang of Fenrir” and “The Scholar, The Sphinx and the Shades of Nyx.” The third book wraps everything up, finally bringing everything from the first and second installments together.
“David Sandoval has to find the three fates ... and what’s interesting about them is they cross over into so many mythologies,” Cook said. “This is what’s kind of tying it all together because he actually needs his existence restored. He’s actually had his existence wiped out by Nyx.”
The final book also means an end to the series for readers and Cook.
“It’s kind of sad, but at the same time I have so many other projects,” she said. “This particular story arc, I don’t think there’s anything to come after it. I’m very happy with how this story ended.”
While she said it’s bittersweet to say goodbye to “The Scholar and The Sphinx” series, she’s excited to move forward to other projects, such as playwriting. Her latest one-act play, the dark comedy “Death by Words,” will premiere Aug. 18-21 at the Theatre of Western Springs in Western Springs, Ill.
She will also spend time promoting the latest book, usually at fantasy conventions.
Cook is originally from Riverside, Ill., but relocated to Gainesville about nine years ago. In addition to “The Scholar and the Sphinx” series, she has short stories published in the anthology “The Kress Project” from the Georgia Museum of Art, and the fairy-tale collection “Willow Weep No More” from Tenebris Books. Several of Cook’s short stories and short plays have been awarded honorable mentions in various magazines, such as “Toasted Cheese Literary Journal” and Writer’s Digest.”