Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Interview with Alexandria Warwick for Below

Below (North #1)

by Alexandria Warwick
Publisher: Wolf Publishing
Release Date: February 4th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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From the author of The Demon Race comes a YA dark fantasy series inspired by Inuit mythology.

In the heart of the frigid North, there lives a demon known as the Face Stealer. Eyes, nose, mouth—nothing and no one is safe. Once he returns to his lair, or wherever it is he dwells, no one ever sees those faces again.

When tragedy strikes, Apaay embarks on a perilous journey to find her sister's face—yet becomes trapped in a labyrinth ruled by a sinister girl named Yuki. The girl offers Apaay a deal: find her sister's face hidden within the labyrinth, and she will be set free. But the labyrinth, and those who inhabit it, is not as it seems. Especially Numiak: darkly beautiful, powerful, whose motives are not yet clear.

With time slipping, Apaay is determined to escape the deadly labyrinth with her sister's face in hand. But in Yuki's harsh world, Apaay will need all her strength to survive.

Yuki only plays the games she wins.

Can you briefly describe BELOW and its characters?

At its heart, Below is a story of the resilience of the human spirit. It’s about Apaay, a young woman who learns her sister’s face has been stolen by the North’s most notorious demon. In her hunt to get back her sister’s stolen face, she becomes trapped in a deadly labyrinth, where her only chance of escape is to find her sister’s face before the labyrinth kills her.

Apaay is deeply loyal to those she loves. Throughout her journey, she has to outwit Yuki, a terrifying girl who rules over the labyrinth. There is also Numiak, an enigmatic man and Ila, a young deaf woman, whose paths cross with Apaay in the labyrinth.

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why?

I’d say my favorite character is the main character, Apaay. She is the most like me, so writing her story has been rather easy in terms of voice, but also kind of eye-opening because in the process of developing her character, I'm learning things about myself as well. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere?

The initial idea was inspired by the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe. In the show, there's a spirit called Koh, the Face Stealer. I thought the concept was really fascinating and wanted to center a story around the idea that faces could be stolen. The next piece of the puzzle came when I was researching Inuit mythology, and that's when I decided to pair the face-stealing concept with an Arctic-inspired setting.

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be?

I'd probably pair it with the song Untitled by Sigur Ros. Their music has this eerie quality that I think reflects the setting well.

What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

Oh, this is a good one! I’d have to say that in order to truly experience Below, you’d have to head north of the Arctic Circle, a cup of steaming tea in hand.

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish BELOW?

If you're looking for something character-driven with an atmospheric setting, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Along that same vein, if you're looking for a story with a brutally cold setting, a compelling demon, and stunning prose, The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. For books with less common mythologies, try the Red Winter trilogy by Annette Marie!

What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?

There are a lot of moments when you read a current draft and it just sounds like a pile of crap. Those are the times when you need to have faith in your capabilities and know that the story in its current state isn't going to be forever. 

What’s next for you?

Next up is book two in the North series! Meanwhile, I'm always tinkering with future story ideas in the background. :)

Alexandria Warwick is the #1 fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. She is the author of The Demon Race and the upcoming North series.

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