Author Interview: Lexi Rees
Today I am lucky enough to be joined by Lexi Rees, as she talks about her writing process and her new book, Eternal Seas, published on September 28th this year!
Such a small parcel shouldn’t cause experienced smugglers much trouble, but this parcel is far from normal.
Lost and scared after a violent storm, Finn and his sister, Aria, take shelter on a remote island. They discover the parcel contains a relic belonging to a long forgotten people. Locked inside are powers which will change their lives, and the world, forever.
As Finn realises his connection to the relic, a vision strikes him – but what does it mean? Who should they trust? And if they decide to follow their hearts rather than their orders, will they manage to deliver the relic in one piece?
Welcome to the blog Lexi and thank you so much for being here!
1) Could you tell me a bit about your journey to becoming an author? (E.g. what made you want to write? What challenges have you faced? What are you most proud of?)
I’ve always written, from stories as a kid, to corporate communications (my day job), to my family adventures blog.
Getting to a published book from a story is a massive project, I under-estimated just how massive, so there were lots of challenges along the way. I worked extensively with three editors on plot development, structure and characterisation and probably re-wrote the entire book several times in the process. That took several years of hard work. I’m thrilled with how it all came together though and very grateful to them all for their help.
I’m also a member of several book/ writers’ groups, including The Fiction Café and The Book Club which are on Facebook, who have helped me hugely. If you are writing yourself, you’ll probably agree you need a support network – it’s a tough world! As well as being a fantastic source of information, I’ve made some great friends in these groups.
What am I most proud of? My son, for who he is, and absolutely everything he does. And for his whole-hearted support in getting this book to where it is today.
2) What was the initial spark of inspiration for Eternal Seas?
The original spark for the story is the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and a book called Wild Swans. The jump from that to Eternal Seas probably needs a bit of explaining though!
Wild Swans gave some very brutal descriptions of the violent struggles and persecution during this period. The specific action that inspired The Relic Hunters was that Chairman Mao destroyed historical relics and artefacts, which means he destroyed things like books and paintings. Nobody knows how much was destroyed, but they ransacked historical sites, museums and houses.
The boy in Eternal Seas, Finn, has a painting in his cabin which would be illegal under Mao’s regime. In my head, it’s a real painting of Gulliver’s Travels. It isn’t valuable, it was painted by my great great granny, but I absolutely love it. I could never let it be destroyed intentionally. So if someone was going to take it away and destroy it on purpose, I would try to hide it from them.
But then I started thinking, what would you do if you wanted to buy or sell or move something that was banned? You need a black market. And if you have a black market, you need smugglers. But what if the smugglers aren’t bad people? What if you agree with them?
And that’s where The Relic Hunters story started.
Of course, that’s just the back story, it isn’t discussed in the book. That’s a completely different adventure.
3) Eternal Seas is the first in a series, each (I’m guessing!) centred around one of the relics. What can we expect in future books?
Good guess! Without giving too much away, the sequel will see Aria and Finn search for the next relic. Aria will also start to explore her elemental powers. Oh, and there will be ponies. So many of my friends have asked why there are no horses in Eternal Seas given how horse mad I am! I’m over half way through writing it, and it will be published in 2019.
I’m running an illustration competition for kids so if there are any young artists who would like to have their work published in the sequel to Eternal Seas, please do check it out.
4) In the world of Eternal Seas, there is a mixture of magic and modern conveniences such as TV – where do you imagine your world to be set in time and what kind of things did you do to build the world?
In my head, it’s set in a world which is parallel to ours but with some magic thrown, like Lyra’s world in Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. As in our world, there have been two world wars, but they have also suffered a third world war which led to the situation referred to in the prologue.
Defeated by the Earth Lords during the Last War, the other clans were forced deep into hiding, locking away their powers in mysterious relics.
As the centuries passed, people forgot these powers ever existed. They faded into myths and legends, bedtime stories for children about magical people who could control the waves and walk amongst the clouds.
Today we go about our daily lives, unaware of how ordinary we have become.
But not everyone forgot.
The guardians, who protect the relics, did not forget.
The clan elders, who wait patiently, did not forget.
And Sir Waldred, the ruthless leader of the Earth Lords, will never forget. He will not stop until the relics are found … and destroyed. Only then will his reign be unchallenged. Forever.
We didn’t know it that morning, but our lives were about to become much less ordinary, and a lot more dangerous.
The world was built over the years through many fantastical discussions with my son whilst sailing and hiking. Interestingly, we always seem to have these conversations when outdoors – it must spark our creativity!
5) Who would you recommend your book for?
Children aged 8-12 who enjoy a fast-paced action-adventure with just a touch of fantasy. And parents who like their kids to read stories with an underlying message of personal values and family loyalty without being “preachy”.
Food: Christmas dinner with the whole family
Drink: Coffee. Black, white, frothy, flat, tall, short, hot, iced. I don’t care. I even have a portable espresso machine that I take on holiday with me, just in case I have a lack of access to coffee.
Book: Ooooh tough. Depends on my mood it could be anything from Terry Pratchett to Tolstoy. Plus I read a lot of non-fiction too.
Movie: Cool Runnings.
Place: A cliff top looking out over the sea. I love the west coast of Scotland, which is why Castle Gylen near Oban is so important in Eternal Seas.
Thank you so much for your time Lexi!
Watch out for my review of Eternal Seas, out in just a few days and don’t miss the other stops on this blog tour!
Finally, so you fancy winning a £10 Amazon voucher, or the chance to have your illustration in the next book? Read on!
Win one of two £10 Amazon gift vouchers (UK only). To enter
- Share a photo of you with the book (paperback or ebook) on Twitter or Instagram
- Tag @lexi_rees (Twitter) or lexi.rees (Instagram) and #EternalSeas
- Closing date 30th November 2018
- UK only
- Winners will be drawn randomly
Illustration competition – would your children like to see their illustrations published in a book?
- Six lucky winners will have their illustrations printed in the sequel to Eternal Seas
- Winners and runners up will also have their drawings featured on lexirees.co.uk and on social media
Drawings must be in black and white, and can be in any of the following categories
- Aria flying up in the sky
- a cat
- mountain ponies
- a snow eagle
- a demon-goddess
- a sailing boat
- Finn and/ or Aria
Please see detailed terms for entry requirements
- Open to children aged 13 or under
- You can enter as many categories as you like
- Winners will be chosen by Lexi Rees
- Children’s name and age will be published together with their illustration. Parents/ guardians must confirm they are happy with this when they enter. Other information (e.g email address) will not be shared.
- No purchase necessary
- Closing date 31/1/19
- Entries must be scanned or photographed in high resolution and emailed to email@example.com. The winners may need to post originals if the images are not high enough quality for printing. Postage costs will be covered in this case.
- Full entry details can be found on lexirees.co.uk
Thank you so much!