Monday, July 16, 2012

"The Tower's Alchemist" - Alesha Escobar

Alesha Escobar

Alesha Escobar writes fantasy and urban fantasy in order to support her chocolate habit. She enjoys reading, writing, and crafts. Her debut novel, THE TOWER'S ALCHEMIST, is the first book of The Gray Tower Trilogy. Book #2, DARK RIFT, will be available October 2012.

Book Title: The Tower's Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #1)

My wrists burned from the spell and my legs felt like rubber. I stumbled over to my sten gun and picked it up before limping over to Lyder. I prodded him and called his name a few times, and uttered a silent prayer of thanks when his eyes blinked open. “Lyder, we have to get out of here.” I coughed again, but this time it was due to the forest fire smoke billowing toward us.
“Where are my guns?” he asked with a groan.
“There.” I nodded over to my right and he rushed toward the weapons and reclaimed them.
The other men who had run off were now regrouping and we could hear them in the distance. I helped him to his feet and we dashed south alongside the road, trying to make it back into town where my safe house stood. I was already running out of breath and hardly managed to keep up with him.
“You couldn’t find a key?” He glanced at my wrists and then his gaze went back to the road.
My eyes narrowed. “Yes, but then I decided that I liked wearing Czechoslovakian handcuffs.”
I stumbled and nearly fell, but he caught me and pulled me along with him at a quick pace. I had to give him credit—he wasn’t going to stop for anything. When we reached town, a few resistance fighters who had been appointed as lookouts signaled to us and guided us through back alleys until we reached the safe house. Once inside, Lyder immediately shed his uniform jacket and grabbed a bottle of liquor. I, on the other hand, asked my hostess Kanja if she knew how to pick locks.
She grabbed her smallest blade from the kitchen and held it up with a grimace. “I don’t know what to do,” she said.
“It’s okay, I’ll walk you through it.” I sat at her kitchen table and held out my wrists.
She sat across from me with a frightened expression. “Perhaps Sergeant Lyder—”
“He’s busy getting drunk, thank you.”
“I'm not drunk yet,” Lyder said. “Can't you transmute those cuffs anyway?”
“Maybe one day I’ll be able to. Kanja, my wrists are badly hurt. Would you mind?”
She sucked in a deep breath. “Then...tell me what to do.”
I guided her through each step, using encouraging words and a soothing voice. When the cuffs clicked open I winced and gave her a pained smile. “Thank you. You’re a very brave young woman.”
She couldn’t have been older than eighteen, but then losing one’s parents and joining the Resistance made one grow up rather quickly. I looked up at Lyder when he set a glass in front of me and poured me a drink. He had grown much more subdued.
“To another day of cheating death,” he said, finishing off the rest of the bottle.
“Just remember not to go over a thirty-minute broadcast. Ever.”
“God, I’m going to have a headache in the morning,” he said, rummaging through Kanja’s cabinets.
“I’m going to be aching all over,” I complained. I was so exhausted from the fight that I didn’t think I had the energy to mend my wrists with magic. I thanked Kanja once more when she went over to the sink and brought a wet towel for me. I had forgotten that my face was bloodstained.
I wiped my forehead and cheeks clean, and as soon as I downed my drink I felt sick. The house suddenly quaked and unnatural screeches filled the air. People began shouting and screaming, and the sound of gunshots popped in long bursts. I didn’t even have to look out the window to know that Black Wolves had landed.
(used with permission)
What is your writing process? I know some people prefer to dash thoughts down on paper then type it up later. Some people are meticulous about making outlines. When you sit down to write, how do you do it?
I do loose outlines. When I dive in and don't do one, I end up regretting it! My outline helps me envision the general flow of the story from beginning to end, and then as I write, I can fine-tune the details, characters and plot.
You say you like to write urban fantasy, but this could be construed as alternate history as well. Which would you identify with more, and why?
I'd identify more with urban fantasy because the subtle difference would be that it presents our world infiltrated with magic. I see alternate history more as "This is what could've been during a certain historical period" and doesn't always include magic. Now, something I'd love to see more of is occult history, where the premise is "This is the secret history of..."
Also, I loved it when the heroine willingly submits to handcuffs because she can use the iron in them to...remove...a bad guy, even though she knows she won't be able to take them off until later. In just a short passage it becomes crystal clear the peril that exists in this world. How hard was it to envision your world? Did the politics feel natural to you or did you really have to work at them?
It wasn't easy at first, because I wanted to maintain a fine balance between certain authentic facts and the creative world that I began weaving around them (though I'm sure the experts may grill me for some things). The WWII era was one of my favorite time periods to study, so the politics felt natural. However, something that I really began digging into was the Special Operations Executive--I was stunned to learn of so many amazing women who ran these dangerous missions and often got little credit.
 Do you belong to a writers' group? If so, tell us a little about it. Also, how important is the feedback from your group? Were there any scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor because the group just didn't think they worked well?
If not:
How do you air your work before deciding it's done? Do you have cold readers or do you just trust your instincts on whether or not a particular scene is as polished as it's going to get?
Although I don't belong to an official writers' group, I do have a few writers and trusted readers who I seek feedback from. My husband is among them, and I respect that he's completely honest. He'll point out things I didn't catch, or a genuine question readers may come up with. Sometimes he's so brutally honest about a scene not working that it'll piss me off and I'll snatch my manuscript and stalk out of the room. 
However there's a huge benefit to belonging to a writers' group, one of them being a connection to a support system that will give you perspective and direction.


Twitter: @The_GrayTower

No comments:

Post a Comment