Having grown up in an orphanage, Craig Pike appreciates his comfortable life as a student of Cornelius, a famous alchemist. But when Cornelius is kidnapped, Craig leaves comfort behind to search for him.
Craig teams up with Audrey Clife, a clever archer, and together they travel across mysterious lands and battle otherworldly creatures. Their journey reveals that Cornelius’s kidnapping is only a small part of an evil alchemist’s elaborate grab for power, and the only people standing in his way are Craig and Audrey…
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Caldric Blackwell whose The Young Alchemist series compelled me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this series to all of those that love fantasy but really the series can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Caldric Blackwell will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Caldric Blackwell!
Caldric Blackwell’s life-long interest in reading culminated in him studying English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Reading works by the world’s greatest authors inspired him to begin writing fiction. Although he began writing short stories for adults, he was drawn to the whimsical, imaginative nature of kid’s literature and began working on his first book for children, an adventure-filled early chapter book, titled “The Enchanted River Race,” which follows a team of children as they compete in a river race. His next release is the beautifully illustrated picture book “The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf”, which revolves around a young werewolf who is self-conscious about his inability to howl.
Blackwell’s most recent contribution to children’s literature is the two-part Young Alchemist series, which is targeted at a middle grade fantasy audience. The first book in the series, “The Missing Alchemist,” follows alchemy student Craig Pike and clever archer Audrey Clife as they travel across mysterious lands and battle other-worldly creatures in a quest to rescue a famous alchemist. The sequel, titled “The Sacred Artifact,” centers on Craig’s attempt to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, which entails journeying to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a mysterious, ancient alchemist.
When he’s not working on his next book, Caldric Blackwell is hiking, gardening, and playing bass and guitar.
Now, how wonderful does Caldric Blackwell sound?! Caldric Blackwell is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and the author and I hope that you enjoy Caldric Blackwell’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Thank you for joining us today at Red Headed Book Lover! Please tell us more about yourself.
Thank you for having me! I grew up in California’s Bay Area but moved around a bit for school – from Central California to New Orleans to Southern California to Arkansas! My first book, “The Enchanted River Race,” was published in 2012. My most recent book, a middle grade fantasy novel, titled “The Sacred Artifact,” was published in 2019. I’m very active with writing, but my day job is in the health care field. When I’m not working or writing my next middle grade fantasy book, I’m gardening, playing music, or training at the local jiu jitsu gym.
Could you please tell us readers about your work and what inspired you to write your series?
My most recent book, “The Sacred Artifact,” is the second book in my middle grade fantasy series called the Young Alchemist series. The story follows fourteen-year-old alchemy student Craig Pike and his teacher, Cornelius, on a journey to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact. Readers get to follow along as Craig and Cornelius, with the help of witty archer Audrey Clife, trek across dangerous lands, compete in a cutthroat tournament, and reunite with old friends. Eventually, they arrive at the very place where alchemy started, hoping a wise, ancient alchemist named Quintus can shed light on the mysteries of the artifact.
“The Sacred Artifact” and its prequel, “The Missing Alchemist,” were inspired by my love of whimsical adventure tales. I wanted to write a story that captures the imagination of a younger audience. I’m a big fan of stories with a quest, such as “Lord of the Rings,” so I wanted to translate the classic quest story into an approachable book for younger readers. My goal was to make the fantasy elements simple enough to not bog down the reader — as the focus of the story is really the adventurous plot and the characters. The story is filled with action, adventure, and fantasy. The two main characters, Craig and Audrey, are fun to root for and relatable for younger readers.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
I think the most important thing is to keep writing. It’s easy to get caught up on trying to get your manuscript published, crafting the perfect query letter, etc. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is improving your writing and telling the story you want to tell. Focus on honing your writing skills and improving what you have to offer.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
The story. Everyone wants to read a book with a story that serves a purpose. Some people want to be moved by a story, others want to be entertained, etc. Everyone has a different desire of what they want from the story, but it’s the story itself that is most important at the end of the day. If the writing is perfect and the story is lacking, the book will not connect with readers.
What is your writing process like?
Great question! It’s an ever-changing process. For my most recent book, “The Sacred Artifact,” I played around with using a more minimalist outline. It allowed me a lot more freedom when writing the story. I’m happy with how it turned out – and the writing process seemed to flow more. It was a bit more time-consuming, however, because I was figuring out all the minor details as I wrote. I’m trying the process again for my next book – and so far I’m happy with it!
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
As my most recent series is in the middle grade fantasy genre, I did not spend too much time doing research – it would have been a lot worse if I had been writing historical fiction. That said, I did do some research. The book has a medieval feel to it, so I wanted to make sure that it was at least slightly accurate in that regard. Additionally, alchemy is featured in the story. I didn’t want to rely too heavily on historical alchemy – as my book features my own flavor of alchemy – but I wanted to be informed.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?
A little bit of both, I’d say. I try to write at least half an hour a day. I have a pretty busy schedule, so if I slack off on writing, I’ll get behind. A bit of writing each day is what works for me. If there are periods where I am feeling inspired, I will certainly spend more time writing. You have to strike while the iron is hot, as they say.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
Yes, I read as often as I can! It’s something I’ve enjoyed since I was young – I’ve always enjoyed relaxing by escaping into other worlds. Now that I write, I think it’s even more important to read as I can pick up techniques and ideas from other authors. Since I write middle grade fantasy, I try to keep up with the genre and read a fair amount of Rick Riordan and similar authors. My favorite authors are the classic authors, however, such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
What attracted you to the genre of middle grade fantasy?
There are a few things that attracted me to the genre. I like the audience age because readers still have the imagination of childhood but also have the reading comprehension skills to enjoy a more complex plot. Unlike picture books or early readers, where you have to keep the characters fairly simple, in the middle grade genre, you can have multi-dimensional characters with complicated motives. The fantasy element seems to work well with the readership, too. Their imaginations are still open to the whimsical, playful nature of a fantastical adventures with lots of magic and excitement.
Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?
I’m currently working on a young adult novel set in New Orleans. It’s quite different from the other books I’ve written, but I think readers will enjoy it. It’s been fun trying out a new genre and being able to use new techniques. I’m more than halfway done with the first draft. If I had to guess, I’d say it’ll come out within the next one-and-a-half to two years. Readers can stay posted on this project and my other writing on my website: https://caldricblackwell.com/.
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Caldric Blackwell! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the previews too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,