Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Alex Lidell. She is the author of The Cadet at Tildor. She has recently published the first two books in the Air and Ash historical fantasy series. I really loved Air and Ash, and I'm excited to read the sequel War and Wind! I hope this interview will help you gain an interest in her work. Thank you, Mrs. Lidell!
What did you draw upon for your inspiration for Air and Ash?
Originally, it was sparked by the Master and Commander movie - and then I listen to A LOT of naval audiobooks, from more middle grade like Bloody Jack to the classics like Horatio Hornblower. The more time I spent “at sea” the more fascinating I found it!
How did you conduct your research?
Mostly through the various companion texts written about Jack Aubrey’s adventures. Thanks to Patrick O’Brian there is a TON of stuff out there.
Have you always been fascinated with naval battles and naval history?
Actually, it’s not the battles and history that I find fascinating, but the dynamics aboard a ship. You have to keep a whole bunch of people in battle ready shape, despite closed conditions and lack of outside resources. How do you do that? What happens when someone isn’t a team player? How do you make hard decisions when you have nowhere to go if things go poorly.
This novel was a blend of realism and fantasy elements. How did you interweave these elements into the story to make it believable?
I’ve always thought of magic in this world as a genetic mutation, a “condition” with benefits and costs. So the story is about people first and foremost. It’s like, if you have the flu - you are still you, you just have to deal with the effects of the flu while you are still you. Also, the negative consequences of magic are built around known real world conditions such as epilepsy, asthma, hemophilia etc.
What were the challenges of writing the novel?
Geography!!!! I had a really hard time keeping oriented of whether we were heading north or east or where. And yes, I had a map. My proofreader even commented about ⅔ through the manuscript “Omg, you got a direction correct for once!”. Luckily she caught all my directional issues and corrected them :)
How long did it take to construct Air and Ash?
About a year and a half
This novel is the first in the series. Did you initially tend to write a series or did it evolve when you were writing?
AIR AND ASH and WAR AND WIND started out as one book, that I then decided to split into two books to tell the fuller story. I wasn’t planning on book 3 until I got such a strong reader response that I gave in. So now TIDES 3 and 4 are in the works.
Do you know how many books are going to be in the series?
It was supposed to only be the two books… but now I have TIDES 3 and 4 coming. I don’t know whether there will be a TIDES 5, because it depends on whether I can wrap up the new story arch in the two novels.
What do you hope readers will take away from the novel?
That if you are absolutely certain that a particular thing/decision/situation is Right (or Wrong), then you don’t know the whole story. There are nuances in everything.
Thank you so much for having me!!!x
Author: Alex Lidell
Narrator: Kaitlin Bellamy
Length: 6 hours and 57 minutes
Publisher: Danger Bearing Press
Released: Sep. 8, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Master and Commander meets Sarah J Maas in a seafaring adventure of duty, love, magic, and a princess’s quest to protect her kingdom on her own terms.
After a lifetime of training, 17-year-old Princess Nile Greysik, a lieutenant on the prestigious Ashing navy flagship, sails into battle with one vital mission – and fails. Barred from the sea and facing a political marriage, Nile masquerades as a common sailor on the first ship she can find. With a cowardly captain, incompetent crew, and a cruel, too-handsome first officer intent on making her life a living hell, Nile must hide her identity while trying to turn the sorry frigate battle worthy. Worse, a terrifying and forbidden magic now tingles in Nile’s blood. If anyone catches wind of who Nile is or what she can do, her life is over. But when disaster threatens the ship, Nile may have no choice but to unleash the truth that will curse her future. Air and Ash is the thrilling first installment of the TIDES series. Recommended for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Tamora Pierce, and David Weber.
Alex Lidell is the author of Amazon best sellers AIR AND ASH and WAR AND WIND (Danger Bearing Press, 2017) and an Amazon Breakout Novel Awards finalist author of THE CADET OF TILDOR (Penguin, 2013). She is an avid horseback rider, a (bad) hockey player, and an ice-cream addict. Born in Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school, where a thoughtful librarian placed a copy of Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA in Alex’s hands. In addition to becoming the first English book Alex read for fun, ALANNA started Alex’s life long love for YA fantasy books.
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