It’s my stop with MTMC Tours to talk about Unwritten by Alicia J. Novo!
This book is the bookworm’s DREAM come true. Look, look: it’s about a girl who falls into the world of books and discovers she is the child of a story character and her fate is tangled into this city that is a world-between-worlds full of book characters. It’s vivaciously imaginative, lush with creativity, and here to triumph the magic of being a bookworm.
Beatrix Alba is one of the most relatable heroines. She’s a misfit at home, uncomfortable in her own life and bullied at school for being Latina. She hears books whispers and she has never quit fit in anywhere. So when she gets sucked into the world of Zweeshen and discovers her passed-away mother was from a story…things start to click. The book feels so deeply about finding your way home. And how that doesn’t have to be a place? It can be people too. It’s a love letter to the misfits and weird kids, to the bookworms and nerds, to the kids persecuted for how they look or where they’re from. I loved this aspect of Unwritten so much.
The world is also super vast and detailed! I also loved all the book references 😂🙌🏻 I recognised many! There’s plenty of world building here, and new words and phrases to learn. Not to mention a whole part of the plot is unravelling mysteries and cracking codes, decoding letters and unravelling inner magic.
“It’s what I love most about books. They are about people who are different. Nobody changed the world by being like everyone else.”
Characters? We have got SO many characters to love. Beatrix herself is both lovely and dynamic and complex. She also struggles with an inner darkness (the Furie — it my name😪🙌🏻) and magic she has no idea how to control at first. She meets Emma, who’s a vivacious preteen and super spunky. Looooved Emma. She’s also just a “draft” and is looking for her author to finally finish her book (this made me laugh 😂 as an author of many unfinished things). I loved meeting all the secondary characters too who help Beatrix and ally with her. Jane and Cassandra were amazing! And then there’s William. Our complex love interest with a surly attitude and secret tragedies mixed beneath. The romance is a bit enemies-to-lovers too and I really enjoyed how it played out.
This is a tale of adventure and magic, of complex story worlds and characters who refuse stay quiet. It gives so much reverence and love it gives to books and I loved how it cherishes both the power of the storyteller AND the reader. Unwritten it is most definitely for anyone who never felt like they belonged and looked to books for comfort.
Be sure to head over to my instagram for the giveaway too!
Books whisper to Beatrix Alba. But they aren’t the reason she has never fit in. Bullied at home and school, she keeps a secret—a power of violence and darkness.
When the spell that keeps her hidden fails, she’s catapulted into the Zweeshen, a realm where all tales live, and her dream of meeting her favorite characters comes true. But wishes are tricky, and behind its wonder and whimsy, the Zweeshen is under attack. A character is burning bookworlds in pursuit of a weapon to rule both stories and storytellers. To succeed, he needs a riddle in Beatrix’s keeping.
Now he’s hunting her down.
Joining forces with William, a cursed conjurer, Beatrix must face an enemy who knows her every weakness in a realm where witches play with time, Egyptian gods roam, and Regency heroines lead covert operations. And with her darkness as the only weapon, she may have to sacrifice everything to save a world that rejects her.
ABOUT ALICIA J. Novo
Alicia has a weak spot for happy endings and transformative journeys. She spent her teenage years in Argentina and Europe, speaks several languages and loves to travel.
Always an eclectic book lover, she’s never been cured of reading a bit of everything and is as likely to geek out about Mr. Darcy as Dr. Who.
A big-city girl, she now lives in the Midwest, where she occasionally picks apples and pretends witches exist. Find her at Website | Instagram | Goodreads | Twitter
Hi Alicia! Thanks for chatting with me today about your novel, Unwritten! Can you tell us a little about how Unwritten went from seed of an idea to finished novel on our shelves?
The idea from Unwritten came from when I was a kid. I was already a bookworm, and I couldn’t bear to let go of characters. I invented a place where they would all go after the end of their stories– just so we could hang out. But I did nothing with that for years.
Even though I wanted to write since I was six, I followed a more traditional career path in the corporate world. But stories and books and the desire to tell them were always there. When I finally decided to pursue this journey, that old idea wouldn’t let me go. There was something so intriguing about it, with so many possibilities. The Zweeshen evolved from that seed. The world changed of course, became darker, more complex and layered, but the original idea is old.
Unwritten went through three big iterations. Two before I signed with my agent and one after. The last few years have been challenging for everyone and surviving them changed me. This story grew with me. Some issues like discrimination, social justice, and the role we play as individuals, were already in the first draft but a lot subtler. As I became empowered, so did my characters and this book.
The last time I was asked this question I felt like visiting Rivendell. I wanted something magical in a beautiful, almost nostalgic way. But today, I probably would follow Alice down the rabbit hole.
There’s freedom in the wacky and the offbeat and in letting go of making sense of everything, of trying to predict. That is one of the things I love most about traveling. No matter how well planned a first time trip to a foreign place, it is an exercise in embracing the unknown. I like to think of books that way too. So Alice in Wonderland would be my choice this morning. I’m in that kind of mood.
- Beatrix is terrible with electronics. They do not last around her. It is unclear to me if it has something to do with her magic or not. She complains that batteries discharge, cables go missing or stop working and that computers freeze or turn off randomly.
- Beatrix is a hair product addict. I share her curly hair so I understand this. She accumulates products, always searching for the one that would finally make her hair manageable and turn it into the curls of her dreams. But then she doesn’t throw away the ones that failed to accomplish that.
The writing! As an author we have to complete a lot of tasks that are related but do not involve writing. From plotting and timeline checking, to editing to marketing and social media. I deliberately do them all with love because they contribute to bringing a story to the world. I used to struggle with social media and marketing until I realized it is like a wide world search for like-minded people. I’m looking for the folks who will understand, relate, and love my book. So I’m making smoke signals in the hope that the story falls in the right hands. This perspective has made non-writing tasks much more fun. But I still enjoy the actual writing the most. Those moments when it is just me, the ideas, and a blank page–and anything is possible.
I absolutely relate to this. It’s incredible how much of being an author isn’t even writing 😂 But all worth it for the finished product! Did you have a scene you were super excited to write? Can you give us a few teasers what it’s about/why you were excited!
I couldn’t wait to write the scene when William and Beatrix sit at the Bookends cafe and decide to work together. I knew the shifting from enemies, to semi-friends to something else was going to be tricky and that scene was the turning point. So I both dreaded it and was eager to get to it. In the end, it wasn’t as bad as I had envisioned. The characters wrote themselves. They did their thing. They enjoyed each other and had fun. My favorite scenes in the book are the ones of them together, even if I ended up cutting a few because of word count. But I learned that the hardest scenes to write, the best accomplished ones, or the writer’s darlings aren’t necessarily the ones that most resonate with people.
Look we do what we must to get that book finished 😂🙌🏻So thrilled to be able to chat all the writing and bookish things with you today, Alicia!! All the best with Unwritten’s amazing release on May 8th! 😍
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