Alesha Escobar is the author of The Gray Tower Trilogy. She is a native of Los Angeles and began writing short stories at a very young age. Alesha earned a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Education. Her debut novel The Towers Alchemist, book one in the Gray Tower trilogy, was first published September 28th 2011 and the final book in the trilogy Circadian Circle was released November 1st 2013. Her writing is breath of fresh air with strong capable female characters. I first met Alesha at the 2013 Latino Comics Expo and was delighted when she agreed to let me interview her. It was a pleasure to ask her about her books and some fun bonus questions. I hope you enjoy the interview and please check out her website http://www.aleshaescobar.com/
LP: Your series The Gray Tower Trilogy is a historical fantasy set in World War II tell us about it and how you came up with the idea? Did you always intend for it to be a Trilogy?
AE: The idea of a paranormal fantasy with a female spy was an intriguing one, and my husband suggested setting it in WWII. We had seen interesting documentaries that covered the Nazis' obsession with the occult. I began asking, what would it look like if they employed the use of dark powers to win the war--and how would the Allies fight back? From there I began developing the world of the Gray Tower Trilogy. I always knew I wanted it to be three books, because I didn't want to drag the story through twelve or twenty volumes. I will say though that I'm interested in writing a couple of short stories and maybe even a prequel.
LP: Your main character Isabella George is a female spy who uses alchemy, in your book how is alchemy used and why did you decide to have your main character use it?
AE: Alchemy is one of several magical disciplines you can study if you're admitted to the Gray Tower. If you have the ability to taste, smell, and manipulate metals and elements, then you have a strong chance of becoming an alchemist. Some people are stronger in some areas of magic, and may have secondary abilities, but they try to sort you into your designated group quickly. I think I decided to make Isabella an alchemist because it's a cool magical ability that you don't always see explored in fantasy books. It was also fun doing research on it because of the historical "alchemy" carried out by the precursors of chemical science. So this also gave it a real feeling, as if someone like Isabella could really study alchemy in the real world.
LP: I love your series! Isabella and several other supporting female characters hold their own against their male counterparts both intellectually and in combat. I must say it is refreshing to see those type of female characters being written and written well. Your characters are engaging even the villains, which do you enjoy writing more villain/villainess or hero/heroines?
AE: Thanks! This is a great question. I secretly like writing the villains more because I'm such a sweetie and good-doer in real life. All of my pent up "mean" energy needs to go somewhere, right? I also enjoy writing my villains as smart people. Bumbling, cartoony villains are boring--but a smart person, a calculating person, perhaps a person you could see yourself going out for a drink with--except she's cold-blooded killer--is the type of villain that's both scary and interesting.
LP: I found myself getting emotionally invested and really felt for Isabella as she went through her tumultuous journey. What is your favorite thing about her?
AE: I love Isabella's resolve and independence. She really believes in what she stands for, and she's not afraid to question or challenge things. She's also human--she falls in love, she makes mistakes, she laughs and cries.
LP: The last book in the Trilogy Circadian Circle came out not to long ago, how does it feel to have a trilogy under your belt?
AE: It feels amazing! I am so happy I committed to writing these books. Every time a reader tells me they've enjoyed the series and even wished it were a movie, I'm left in awe. I remember writing stories as young as seven, so this is something that I love doing and that I'm passionate about.
LP: Will you be revisiting this world again? I don't think I am ready to move on yet!
AE: I will! There's no harm in dallying in the Gray Tower universe a while longer.
LP: What other works do you have out there right now and what projects are you currently working on? Can you tell us a little bit about some of them? Where can we buy them?
AE: I've just published a short story with HDWP Books in their New Myths anthology. The theme of the collection is sharing mythology with our readers, whether completely created by ourselves or giving a twist to an older myth. My short story is called "The Black Dagger Gods," which is reminiscent in some ways of American Gods. The anthology is available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.
LP: How do you juggle being a writer with being a mother and wife?
AE: It's tough. I do a lot of writing at night after I put the kiddos to bed. I think it helps that my husband is very supportive and joins in on the creative process. Sometimes I'm great at balancing it all, and sometimes I'm lousy. When I'm lousy at it, I just remind myself to take a step back and get refocused.
LP: When did you start writing stories?
AE: At the age of seven--they were detective stories. When I think about it, I wonder what the heck did I know about detectives and solving crimes at that age?
LP: When did you know you wanted to write professionally?
AE: In high school, when I became editor of my school's newspaper. I went to college for journalism (with a short flirtation with biochemistry before running back into the English Writing program).
LP: What inspires you?
AE: People, events, songs, beauty...you name it. I take different things in life, different experiences, and draw from those.
LP: Favorite music, movies, TV shows, books and why?
AE: My music taste is all over the place--R&B, Rock, Classical, etc. I'm also a huge fan of that a capella group, Pentatonix. Their skills are amazing! I enjoy watching Dr. Who, Sleepy Hollow, Lost (I will watch it over and over), and I just started watching Grimm. As for books, some of my favorites include The Dresden Files, Game of Thrones, and Wheel of Time series. I am a huge sci-fi & fantasy junkie--gimme more!
Make sure to check out The Tower's Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #1) it is free to download at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. This definitely for readers who enjoy fun and smart writing with great characters a bit of magic and a world that will draw them in. This is definitely the book to get! If you love it don't forget to check out the rest of the trilogy and Alesha's other works. You can also follow her on her blog http://www.aleshaescobar.com where Alesha also does book reviews and author interviews. I for one cannot wait to see what Alesha Escobar has in store for us in the future!