Today we’re interviewing Lucky13 author Alex Lidell, whose debut THE CADET OF TILDOR is now in stores! It’s a YA fantasy novel that has been described as “Tamora Pierce meets George R.R. Martin.” Doesn’t that sound epic? Here’s the full blurb:
There is a new king on the throne of Tildor.
Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown’s inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, Cadet Renee de Winter ﬁghts to maintain her spot as an elite soldier in training—with no help from her instructor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty. But when an underground crime lord goes too far, Renee and her best friend Alec are thrust into a world rife with crime and conspiracy, struggling between what they want, what is lawful, and what is right.
Welcome to the OneFour blog, Alex, and congrats on your debut! THE CADET OF TILDOR is set in a world of magic and civil war. What inspired this kind of story?
Not quite civil war 🙂 This isn’t a “battlefield” story – but there is a new king on the throne and various criminal factions are vying for power.
The fantasy setting came from my love of fantasy books, especially Tamora Pierce’s novels, and I chose the Academy as my stage because I’m a sucker for school and training stories.
What is the craziest thing you did in the name of research for THE CADET OF TILDOR? Any sword-fighting practice?
Umm… yeah… I actually stalked out the performers at King Richard’s Fair and interrogated them on horse training for the show. They gave me some ideas, which I took back to the stable and introduced to my horse. I had a foam sword from Halloween and I set up a bottle as a target, and then the horse and I practiced knocking it down. My mom even made me a knight like covering for the horse!
And of course, the sword fighting horseback scene got cut during editing… 🙂
The heroine of the story, Renee, is the only girl at a military academy for boys. If you were put in such a situation, do you think you would survive as well as her?
I have no idea:) And I am happy to not find out, hehe. Actually, I try not to associate myself with the characters because then I get really self-conscious about my writing. One of my fears starting out writing was that people would think that I agree with all of my characters’ opinions and actions or else think that I envision myself as cool and capable as one of the heroes.
That said, I think metaphorically speaking there are a lot of girls in Renee’s situation in the real world and they kick butt. That’s why the slogan on my website is “Challenge the Odds”.
What is your favorite thing about THE CADET OF TILDOR?
In terms of the plot, I like various ethical dilemmas the characters face. In terms of having the book out in the world, I love talking to readers.
What sort of projects can we expect from you in the future?
I am working on a sequel right now. I hope CADET does well and the second book will get to come out!
And as this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid.
Tamora Pierce’s work was the biggest influence – it was the first non-homework reading that I did in English. (I was born in Russia and didn’t speak english until we immigrated to the US). While in Russia, my favorite kid’s book was called “THE GIRL FROM THE PLANET EARTH” – a sci fi.
Alex is a YA fantasy author, a Tamora Pierce addict, a horse rider, and paramedic. The latter two tend to hand in hand a bit more often than one would like. Alex started writing at 2 am. You can find Alex by visiting her website and on Twitter.
This interview was conducted by OneFour member Stephanie Diaz, whose YA science fiction novel EXTRACTION will be released Spring 2014 from St. Martin’s, an imprint of Macmillan. The interview is part of an ongoing series of interviews with The Lucky13s — YA, MG, and children’s book authors debuting in 2013.