Yes. I have managed yet another blog tour in the month of April. How? I don’t know. I promise this is the last one. Anyway, this is another exciting book! Thanks to xpresso book tours for including me.
by Alicia J. Novo
Publication date: May 8th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Books whisper to Beatrix Alba. But they aren’t the reason she has never fit in. Bullied at home and school, she keeps a secret—a power of violence and darkness.
When the spell that keeps her hidden fails, she’s catapulted into the Zweeshen, a realm where all tales live, and her dream of meeting her favorite characters comes true. But wishes are tricky, and behind its wonder and whimsy, the Zweeshen is under attack. A character is burning bookworlds in pursuit of a weapon to rule both stories and storytellers. To succeed, he needs a riddle in Beatrix’s possession.
Now he’s hunting her down.
Joining forces with William, a cursed conjurer, Beatrix must face an enemy who knows her every weakness in a realm where witches play with time, Egyptian gods roam, and Regency heroines lead covert operations. And with her darkness as the only weapon, she may have to sacrifice everything to save a world that rejects her.
Alicia has a weak spot for happy endings and transformative journeys. She spent her teenage years
in Argentina and Europe, speaks several languages and loves to travel.
An eclectic reader, she grew up on a diet ranging from Lucy M. Montgomery and Jane Austen to Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Raymond Chandler, Hermann Hesse, Jorge Luis Borges, and many classics. She’s never been cured of reading a bit of everything and is as likely to geek out about Mr. Darcy as Dr. Who.
She is a history and astronomy aficionado, who walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain, completed her Masters in the Netherlands and worked for Google in Ireland. She decided to become a writer at six but took a full, winding road here. Along the way, she learned if there’s one thing that cuts across cultures, one unifying thread that pulls everyone together, it’s a good story.
A big-city girl, she now lives in the Midwest, where she occasionally picks apples and pretends witches exist.
What was the hardest scene to write in this book? (a little tease without spoiling!)
The beginning. I wrote that scene so many times. With so many approaches. I tried to start sooner, later. I had a prologue in one version with Farisad, a character that now only shows up in the last third of the story. At one point, Unwritten began when Beatrix, my main character, was seven and first discovered her power before jumping to the present when she is sixteen. But I was never satisfied with any of those.
I changed the beginning thoroughly after the novel sold. Before I resubmitted my first version to my publisher, I sat down and dissected that scene to figure out what wasn’t working. I realized the beginning was too grim, and it didn’t show the contrasts in both Beatrix and the book. Unwritten plays with darkness and light, the love for books and their imperfections, self-doubt and strength. So I needed a beginning that showed that. I wondered what would be the best place to highlight all of those things, and it had to be Beatrix’s library. Unwritten had to start with books. That’s how I finally landed on the current scene, and I knew it was the right way to start the story.
If you could give your past writer self one piece of advice what would it be?
I wish I would listen to myself if I were to go back in time, but I have a feeling I wouldn’t. I doubt my path would change too much, because I had to go through it to get here. And Unwritten would be different. I changed through the writing and publishing journey. All that said, I’d try to convince myself to trust my instincts more—and in this story. But do we ever follow that advice when we get it? Characters are notorious for ignoring truths like that. I suspect writers are no better.
Where did the inspiration for The Unwritten come from?
The original idea for Unwritten is quite old. I was probably in the third grade. I loved to read, and I adored book characters. My wish was to hang out with them, chat like with regular friends. So I invented a place where all characters went after the end of their books, and I imagined their interactions free from their stories.
When I decided to write a novel to publish a few years ago, I picked up that old concept and used it to develop the Zweeshen, a universe where characters from all stories live. The world of Unwritten is a lot more complex and a lot darker than the original, but the seed was planted long ago. The Zweeshen grew from there in ways that surprised me.
Do you have a specific writing routine?
I like to prepare a pot of tea in a teapot that my late aunt gave me and sit on my special armchair. I can’t work on desks. I’m not sure why, but as soon as I sit in front of a regular desk, I freeze. Sofas and chairs or even the bed for editing work best. I also make sure to have at least one sentence from the day before to get me started. I won’t say I’m terrified of a blank page, but it is a close thing.
You seem to have really interesting characters! Which one do you relate to most in this book?
William. Of course, Beatrix has aspects that I relate to, and some of her experiences are close to my own. But William’s style is more comparable to mine. He feels responsible and tries to attack problems by doing. Even in the bad aspects of his character—like trying to avoid things that hurt and struggling to accept love—I can find similarities. Once he decides to commit, though, he’s all in.
Is there a book that you’ve read that’s really given you inspiration to write? If so, why?
Anne of Green Gables. There is a reason I have an homage to it in Unwritten. I adored Anne as a young girl, and I wanted to be like her—brave enough to be unapologetically myself. Also Lucy Maud Montgomery was an expert at atmospheric setting, and she made me fall in love with Canada. When I lived there, I understood some cultural aspects because of that book, and my admiration for the work only grew. Anne inspired me to write something that might make a teen feel less alone, the way that story did with me.
- A physical copy and a box of branded goodies (bookmarks, keychain, enamel pin, character art, candle, tote) (US only)
- Ebook with digital goodies (character art, background, map) (INT)
- Ends Apr 29th
- Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251234211/