Monday, April 19, 2021

Unwritten by Alicia J. Novo - Book Tour + Giveaway

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.

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Author Interview
Favorite childhood memory involving books?
I met Ray Bradbury at a book fair when I was fifteen, and I told him I wanted to be a writer. He looked at me and said, “Don’t think about it, don’t talk about it. Write. When you’re happy write. When you’re sad, write.” So every time I doubt, I remember that, and I write.

 What is your most unusual writing quirk?
I write any first pass with a multitude of Xs in place of words or even sentences that I then go back to fill in. Paragraphs and sentences have rhythm, and how ideas are presented matters. My first pass is about getting both those core ideas and that fundamental structure and language cadence down.

 When you write something, it tends to stickyou can’t think as easily of an alternative, like those optical illusion pictures you can’t unsee. And if I stopped to ponder the exact phrasing or synonym I want, the flow of ideas would be interrupted. So I got in the habit of putting an X as a placeholder and keep going. On my first reread, I replace the blanks. It’s a strange method and ensures anything I write requires two passes which might not be the most efficient, but it works for me.

 What’s one movie you like recommending to others?
I will go with something old and say Gattaca. I love Sci-Fi, and there are so many elements in that movie that speak to me. I love the story, the conflict in it, the ethical questionswhich with DNA splicing advances seem more relevant than ever. The relationships have so many telling silences. And I love that it is about yearning for spaceand about acceptance of imperfection. Plus, the esthetic is so cool. I think it has aged well too, which is hard for a film made in the late ’90s.

 When did you write your first book?
I was fourteen. It was a mystery about a PI trying to solve a murder for which there’s no body. No one but the woman who hired him knows it even happened. But I’m not showing that to anyone, ever. It will forever remain hidden in the darkest of bottom drawers.

 What sparks your creativity/how do you get your ideas?
Life. The little things around us that are strange, quirky, or out of place. People I see in passing, nonsensical everyday details are always my triggers. I like to mix the mundane with the surprising and the fantastic and try to create a plot that is unexpected.

 What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Predictable as it sounds, my biggest vice is reading. I read as much as I can, and I listen to audiobooks when I vacuum or wash dishes. I also love spending time with my family. My spouse and son are the most supportive and fun. We cook and garden together. But stories are never far from my mind; I get a lot of ideas while working in the yard too.

 Do you listen to music when writing?
I do while I’m plotting or planning, but not while writing. Music is wonderful to set the stage and create the right atmosphere, and yet to write, I like silence. If there are lyrics, I find them either distracting, or I completely tune everything out, so it doesn’t really help. That said, I enjoy driving when I’m stuck and working to figure out a plot hole. Then I listen to music almost as loudly as it goes.

 If you could have a dinner party with 3 other authors, who would that be?
I’ll pick deceased ones because that means I would have to time travel too!

 Jane Austen: I would have so many questions. I admire her critical eye and the way she created unforgettable characters. Her heroines and heroes feel vibrant and relatable even if they lived in a society so very different from ours. Jane lived in a time when she couldn’t even get her name on the cover of her books, and when the bestsellers were gothic novels, so I would love to hear how she dealt with that.

 Isaac Asimov: I’m a huge fan of Sci-Fi, and I’ve admired his work ever since I began to read. He was an immigrant and a chemistry professor, and such a prolific writer. I would like to learn from his great understanding of story flow.

 Agatha Christie: She is underrated in my mind and was disparaged in her time as not good literature. Yet, her novels have such a gripping quality and a keen observation of human nature. I don’t know if she would tell me, but I would want to ask her where she went for the year she disappeared.

 If you had to pick a celebrity to cast for your main character, who would it be?
Someone like Courtney Eaton in Gods of Egypt would be a good choice. But they would have to enlarge her eyes somehow, either through make-up or CGI, because Beatrix Alba, the main character in Unwritten, has oversized, almost anime-like eyes.


If you could travel anywhere in the world to write, where would you go?
A stone home in the north of Spain, a small villa close to Florence, or a thatched roof cottage by the sea in Ireland. My dream is to write full-time and spend summers in one of those places in my own lovely writer’s retreat.

Would you ever write under a pseudonym?
Yes. I think it is sometimes helpful when you write different genres and if you have a full-time job unrelated to writing. And there’s a lot in a name, so there is a playfulness to pseudonyms that I really like. A bit like having a secret writing identity.

 Do you have a favorite food/snack/drink when writing (or anytime)?
I love tea and I drink whole pots while writing. Also, even though I know it isn’t healthy, I like diet coke. I try not to snack too much, but sometimes I have Amaretti cookies with my coffee, Speculoos or lemon dunkers with my tea.

How do you choose your book covers?
It was a fascinating process. I had to create a design brief describing my world and share the colors that I liked and some recent covers that resonated with me. Our super talented cover designer took that information and presented us with eight unique options. It was incredibly hard to choose because they were all gorgeous, but ultimately, I chose the one I felt most accurately portrayed my story.

A cover shouldn’t lie. It should call to the readers likely to enjoy the novel and not the wrong audience. Otherwise, readers would feel both cheated and disappointed. I’m thrilled with how the cover for Unwritten turned out, and the longer I look at it, the more I like it.


Author Bio:

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.

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