Today, I'm very excited to share this interview with author Liz Delton! Not only is Liz an accomplished author, but she's also a teaologist. Be sure to check out her Arcera Trilogy and the Realm of Camellia series.
SJ: What gave you the inspiration to write The Arcera Trilogy?
Liz: Meadowcity was my debut novel, and I wanted to explore a different type of dystopian world, where civilization had gone back to simpler times. I wanted the world to be at peace, that is, until one of the cities decides to declare the first war in a thousand years. At the time I was writing it, I was enamored with all the new dystopian fiction like Hunger Games, and wanted to explore a world of my own imagining.
Arcera is different than other dystopian worlds, in that the world had already destroyed itself long, long ago, and nature has reclaimed its territory. The Four Cities are all that’s left. Meadowcity, Lightcity, Riftcity, and Skycity are closed off from nature and each other, and the wilds in between are only traversed by skilled people like Sylvia Thorne, who delivers messages for a living.
SJ: Who is your favorite character from the series and why?
Liz: I’d have to say Lady Naomi Blackwater, the ruler of Seascape, the strange and reclusive fifth city that retained technology from times past. She was really fun to write because she is this mysterious, imposing, powerful woman. There’s only a glimpse of her in the first book, but we discover a lot more about her throughout the series. I think the best part about her is that the other characters aren’t sure whether to love her or hate her.
SJ: Why did you choose this specific genre?
Liz: I’ve read fantasy since I was a kid, and I continue to read YA fantasy now. There’s just a certain magic in these stories. I’m also fascinated by dystopias, as I think many people these days are with our world changing so much each day.
SJ: What is your favorite part of the creative writing process?
Liz: When I can actually immerse myself in writing. I go through phases where I’ll spend a lot of time on marketing or publishing logistics, but the best part is when I can just sit down and write, and I’m in a place creatively where I’m not getting distracted every five minutes.
SJ: Who has influenced you the most as a writer?
Liz: When I was younger, I read a lot of Tamora Pierce (Song of the Lioness and Immortals quartets). These were some of my favorite books growing up, and I still have these books to this day. Pierce wrote fantastic worlds with strong female characters, and I loved them.
SJ: Did you always want to be a writer or did the inspiration come later in life?
Liz: No, it came about five years after I graduated college. I’ve always been into the arts and have dabbled in fine arts and have my degree in theatre arts, specifically, stage management. In college I took classes on writing plays and poems, but it wasn’t until later that I decided to write a book. I’ve always enjoyed the backstage side of storytelling, I think, so moving on to writing was a natural move for me.
SJ: What have you found to be your biggest hurdle?
Liz: Getting your writing seen is hard, especially with independently published books. There is so much to consume nowadays (books, TV, movies, social media) and so many other things clamoring for people’s attention, that trying to market a book often feels like I’m talking to myself. But I write because I enjoy creating stories and worlds, and the rewarding part is having others read it, so it’s a good motivation to market.
SJ: Tell me about your book covers and the inspiration behind them.
Liz: Each cover of the Arcera books represents the city the particular book focuses on most—Meadowcity with the immense forest surrounding the city, The Fifth City with the silhouette of the island of Seascape, and A Rift Between Cities shows the mountainous peak of Skycity, the city that incited the war that begins the whole series. The compass symbol uniting them all can literally be interpreted for the directional nature of how Sylvia and her friends must travel across the world of Arcera, or the thematic nature of finding one’s way.
SJ: I noticed you used to be also a teaologist. What flavors do you recommend while reading a good book?
Liz: I always find a plain green tea to go perfectly with a nice book! Green tea is mild on caffeine, and it’s full of antioxidants. Or if you want something bolder, another favorite is a hazelnut black tea--lots of caffeine and flavor.
SJ: What are your writing goals for 2020?
Liz: I’m currently writing book 3 in my Realm of Camellia series. Book 2 will be coming out on June 9, 2020, called The Storm King.
I’m also trying to find time to write a standalone novel about two girls who run a tea shop who are trying to find their missing brother, an adventurer who was searching for an alchemical artifact. I think it’s technically Gaslamp fantasy, though I had originally intended it to be steampunk. I’m also fighting my instinct to turn it into a series, because I’d really like to write a standalone!
Liz Delton writes and lives in New England, with her husband and amazing son. She studied Theater Management at the University of the Arts in Philly, always having enjoyed the backstage life of storytelling. She loves reading and writing fantasy, especially the kind with alternate worlds. Liz is the author of the Arcera Trilogy, and the Realm of Camellia series. World-building is her favorite part of writing, and she is always dreaming up new fantastic places. She loves drinking tea and traveling. When she's not writing you can find her hands full with one of her many craft projects. Visit her website at lizdelton.com