Hi everyone! Welcome back to my blog. Today I am going to be answering a compilation of some of my most frequently asked questions. I will probably do a few more of these in the future just in case I don't answer all of them.
Q. How old are you?
A. I'm seventeen years old.
Q. Are you still a high school student?
A. Yes, I am in my last year of high school.
Q. How old were you when you started writing your series?
A. I was ten years old when I started writing The Crystal Chronicles.
Q. Is Alyssa Brooks in TCC actually you?
A. No, my main character Alyssa Brooks is not me. I try to write my own characters as their own people, without any similarities to anyone I know in real life. That being said, as much as I would like to make each character their own person, a part of me is still in every single character in TCC.
Q. Who is your favourite character?
A. It is very hard to choose but I really enjoy writing Kurt Bell.
Q. Who is your favourite author?
A. Again thats such a hard question. I think my top three would have to be Cassandra Clare, Markus Zusak and Charles Bukowski.
Q.What is your favourite book?
A. I think my favourite book would have to be a tie between The Book Thief or Clockwork Princess.
Q. Who is your publishing company?
A. I published with Friesen Press.
Q. What does the snake on your cover mean?
A. The snake on my front cover is a Greek symbol..the staff of Asclepius. It is the symbol of healing and if you've read my book you would understand the relevancy (don't want to give any spoilers).
Q. Is there a specific order of the elements on your front cover?
A. Yes there actually is a specific order. The biggest element on the staff and the one seen first is the one the current book revolves around. (Book one revolves around the fire element).
Q. If you were an elemental what kind of elemental would you be?
A. I would definitely be an Aquarian.
Q. Are you team Zack or Haven?
A. I don't prefer one over the other. But you will have to wait and see what Alyssa does!
Q. How do you deal with writers block?
A. I've never really believed in the term writers block. In my opinion saying you have "writers block" is an excuse. As a professional writers you need to write everyday or else nothing would ever get done. If I waited for inspiration to strike I would've never finished my first book. You got to write when you don't feel like it. You need to continue writing even if what you've written sounds bad. Sometimes you just got to force yourself to get work done. That is the difference between a amateur and a professional. An amateur only writes when they want to and stops when they think they have writers block. A professional writers writes even when they don't want to and gets things done. I am all for inspiring myself to write to best of my abilities however. I find inspiration in many things such as doing things besides writing that I enjoy. Even reading a really good book helps, sometimes I find I'm even more inspired with my own novel after reading another writers work.
Q. What's the best thing about being a writer?
A. The best thing about being a writer is meeting and talking to my readers. It is so rewarding to have spent years on a project, only to receive the same love back by the people who read my book. As an author I can directly influence my readers and spread my views, opinions, and philosophies on the world. Every personal message, blog comment, or in person meetings, I get from my readers make everything worth it. As a writer, I can spread my message. I can spread the love of literacy and inspire other kids to read and write to their full potential. I can teach people my craft and I can educate kids who love writing as much as I do. As a writer I feel like I have the power to make a difference in my readers lives, and for that I am forever grateful.
Q. What's your advice for aspiring writers?
A. My best piece of advice for aspiring writers is your never too young to start. I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I felt like I was born to do it, so I started my series The Crystal Chronicles at age 10. Don't ever let anyone belittle your dreams and aspirations of becoming a writer. It didn't stop me and it shouldn't stop you. Another great piece of advice I tell people is to write a little everyday. This is crucial. Writing, like any other thing, is a learned skill. It can only be perfected through practice. Writing a little everyday is essential to finishing big projects like novels and sharpening your skills as a writer. Maybe its one or two pages a day or maybe its ten but at least if it something I'll shut up about it. As Stephen King once said reading a lot and writing a lot is the be all end all of becoming a writer. I can't say it any other way. If you want to be a writer and you are truly serious about it, you must read a lot and write a lot. The rest will surely fall into place sooner or later.
Q. What are you currently working on?
A. I am currently working on my second novel in The Crystal Chronicles series. It should be available sometime in 2017. This 2016/2017 school year I am touring local schools across the Toronto and GTA area. I am spreading my message of literacy and writing to students from grades 5-12. I am also working on a few other promotional projects such as getting a Youtube channel up and running and blogging. Please visit www.alessiadickson.com for more info or follow me on any social media to keep up!
Q. How do you get inspired to write?
A. This question has always been a tricky one to answer for me. I am a firm believer in writing even when you are not inspired. That being said, the force the compels me to write is the thought of my second book completed and in my readers hands. People are waiting and are excited for TCC book two and I need to give it to them. I just imagine what my book will look like once it's done and how much I will enjoy rereading it once it's finished. All of these thoughts are extremely tempting and are enough to get me writing everyday.
Q. Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
A. 'm sure any writer can relate when I say my ideas come from anywhere and everywhere, at any time, and in any place. My ideas for The Crystal Chronicles book two came to me long ago at the young age of 10. My entire five part series for the most part, has been planned for seven years already. Sure, some specifics might change, but the overall skeleton of the series has remained the same. I remember getting the idea for TCC one day when I wondered what it would be like if a girl could control all four main elements and what would happen if that girl was the only one capable of creating a super weapon. And just like that The Crystal Chronicles and Alyssa Brooks was born. My ideas for book two follow the same series skeleton but sometimes I have idea sessions with people where we bounce ideas off each other. I wonder what situations I would like to see my characters in and what scenes would be cool to write. The stream of creativity is endless. My second book takes place in the Amazon in Brazil. Naturally, having that setting brings lots of ideas for incorporating lore, culture, language, earth magic, and indigenous tribes. Usually the setting for my book helps form my ideas as my settings for each book are all different and very unique.
Well, thats all for now guys! As always thank you for reading and if you have a question I haven't answered leave it down in the comments below!
Until next time,
Hello everyone! Welcome back to another blog post. Today I will be reviewing The Red Queen from debut author Victoria Aveyard.
Before I get started, I’m excited to announce last week I had the honour of being interviewed by the Vaughan Citizen newspaper! If anyone is interested in reading my article I will leave the link here.
Now onto the review! As a general rule, anytime I review books on this blog I will rank the book out of 10 based on three criteria, writing, plot, and characters. My opinions with book reviews are original and my own and I mean no offense to anyone! The Red Queen takes place in a world where blood divides the people: red and silver. The silver bloods are the elite, the wealthy, and have powers that make them superior. The reds are the commoners, the majority of people, and are forced to suffer in poverty as the elite silvers live in luxury. Seventeen-year-old Mare Barrows world is shattered as her life as a Red becomes unexpectedly tied up in the lives of the Silvers. Betrayal, deceit and love all work together to make this book a real page-turner. Without giving too much away this book is an entertaining read. I pretty much couldn’t put it down until I finished.
On the writing: Aveyard’s style of writing is very simplistic and easy to follow. She is not one of those writers that make you feel like you need a drink of water after you read one page. Her writing flows very well and has a good mix of dialogue and description. Her writing is very well paced and isn’t boring for a second – I pretty much couldn’t put the book down. I appreciate writers that omit needless words and aren’t too wordy, which Aveyard achieved with the RQ quite brilliantly.
On the plot: Too put it honestly, the plot of the Red Queen was pretty good. It wasn’t amazing but it was interesting enough to keep me entertained, which is pretty much all a plot needs to do in the end. I didn’t find anything overly unique about the concept of the RQ. I enjoyed the entire book however, especially the rising rebellion and the royal turmoil. The book just had the right amount of action, fights, and romance. The climax truly was a climax – it was exciting but somewhat predictable. That doesn’t stop the book from having a good ending because it did; I personally just saw it coming. The antagonists in the series are revealed near the end of the book and I’m looking forward to seeing what Aveyard does with them. Overall I award the plot my approval but I am hoping things will turn up a notch in book 2 and 3 of the trilogy. I’m pretty positive that’s a guarantee.
On the characters: In my opinion the character development in the Red Queen is it’s biggest downfall. Not there was anything wrong with the characters per say, but I do believe there was need for further development. Mare, the main character is a great strong female lead. I believe her character is somewhat rushed, especially because she went from being a lowly red to a defiant bold silver elite lady practically overnight. Clearly there was character development here; I just don’t think it was all that realistic for the story, considering Mares past. Mare is still a great character with great dialogue parts, she just changed too quickly you know?
My other issue with the RQ is the romance pieces. Now I love a great romance as much as the next person, but Mares relationships with both Maven and Cal felt rushed to me. There was barely any development in her relationships with either of these guys. Yet she claims she loves Maven and at the same time Cal claims he loves Mare. As soon as I read both of those scenes I had to stop reading and wonder: when exactly did this love thing happen? Did I miss something? I only say this because there was no real buildup to this heavy proclamation of affection in either case. She had like two one on one scenes with Maven and had one of these scenes with Cal. So when did this love flourish? It just felt forced to me, a thing the author really needed to develop further. There has to be some buildup, some sort of chemistry for the L word. It just needed a little more development if you ask me. Though I admit the characters have great potential and I’m excited to see what she does with them in future books.
Cal’s character was pretty developed but I think he needs a little more to give him that wow factor. Maven on the other hand, was less developed, but the author had her own reasons for this, which I feel, are very justified at the end of book one. So while Aveyards characters are good, her development with their relationships needed a little work in my opinion.
As a quick side note the RQ reminded me strongly of the Hunger Games. The same Gale/Peeta dynamic existed in the RQ as it does in the Hunger Games. At the end of the book they are also in an area where it’s a fight to the death – with kids killing kids. Again, much like the Hunger Games. To take things even further Mare is basically the face of a rebellion much like Katniss in the HG. Now, these are probably coincidences, but if you are a fan of the HG give this a read, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
All in all, I award the RQ a 7/10. It was quite a good book and had me in its grip the entire time. It had good characters and a good story, which was very suspenseful at times. Its lack of development in character relationships is mostly the reason I gave the book its score of 7. All in all, Aveyard should be proud of her debut novel. She did a good job with it and it’s worth the read. I am sure things will get even better in the next two installments! Can’t wait!
Thanks for reading and until next time,
About the Author
Alessia Dickson is the author of The Crystal Chronicles series. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she is hard at work on her next book.