January 28, 2013

An Author a (Mon)day: Alex Lidell

An Author a (Mon)day is a sporadic feature on the blog, one in which I invite authors to answer three questions for me pertaining to them, their writing or their books! While this does not happen weekly, you can be rest assured that it always happens on a Monday.
Today, I'm delighted to have Alex Lidell visiting the blog! I just recently read her debut novel, The Cadet of Tildor, and was completely blown away. Even though it's early on in the year, I'm fairly confident that this novel will still be one of my top picks of 2013! I loved the creativity of her world-building, and her characters (particularly Savoy) are wonderful. I wasn't sure initially if there was going to be a sequel, but I got word fairly recently that there would be and so, I'm eagerly anticipating that!

Alexa: Renee and Savoy are two particularly complex, real characters. How did you come up with the characters in your books? Did someone you know in real life inspire your characters?

Alex: Savoy is a character I've known for a long, long time, ever since HS, when I was playing a story writing game. While the particulars about his occupation and his past are CADET specific (the original Savoy was a fighter pilot!), the basics of his personality and the reasons for those traits have stayed fairly consistent.

Renee is a type of character I imagine as a “dramatized mirror” of the reader. While most of CADET’s readers are not fighter cadets in a military school, many have faced situations where they are different from the majority of their peers in a particular area – a difference that leads them to approach the challenge in a different way than the others do. The slogan on my website, “Challenge to Odds”, also comes from this concept. 

Alexa: How did you come up with the concept of these three main groups that cause a conflict in your story? They all seem so different from one another, with their goals and methods.

Alex: Great question. The Servants of the Crown were inspired by a mix of law enforcement and military institutions of modern US/European countries. Servants enforce the law of the land and execute the Crown's decrees - whether or not they agree with said laws and orders. The Family, an organized criminal group was inspired by the historical Italian OC family structure. It is not based on any specific crime family, just on the concept of a sophisticated family grown group that happens to be involved in illegal business. The Vipers on the other hand were inspired by a gang like structure found in many US inner cities. Again, I did not base the Vipers on any particular gang or location, but on the general concept.

Alexa: If you could slip into any book's story for a day, what would it be and why?
Alex: Oooo, that depends... do I have immunity from getting killed or maimed during that day? Most of my favorite fantasy stories take place during a pseudo-medieval period and I am not sure someone there would not shoot me on sight if I strode in wearing a pair of jeans and a smirk… 
The Cadet of Tildor Alex Lidell book cover
The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell
Publisher: Dial
Publication Date: January 10, 2013

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, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.

Why I loved this book: 

I have always been a fan of fantasy novels! While there was a time when contemporary novels seemed to be taking over YA, this novel proves that fantasy is a strong contender for the YA audience's attention - and that it's here to stay! I certainly think that tapping into classic fantasy elements helped me to fall in love with this debut novel. (My review will be up next month - so keep an eye out for it!)


  1. I have heard such great things about this book! I cannot wait to rad it. Great interview!

  2. It would be cool to slip into a fantasy novel. This one sounds brilliant! I've been hearing mostly good things about it so I will have to check it out.

  3. I'm really looking forward to reading this book sometimes this year, and the interview just sparked my interest even more. It's also a bonus knowing you loved the book!


Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)