2013 Debut Author Interview: The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

Welcome to Debut Author Alex Lidell

Alex Lidell is a YA fantasy writer and author of ABNA Finalist THE CADET OF TILDOR (Penguin, 2013). Alex started writing at 2 am.

2 am is when the night turns to introspection, when dorm-room conversations flourish to life. The ones where you ask “what if” – realizing that if an answer seems obvious, then you don’t know the whole story. The ones where you sketch plans for your next project, your future business, your quest for peace in the middle east – or for teaching kids to read – and you know that you can succeed. If you just try hard enough.

Alex’s 2 am project, which she started after getting her Masters in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, was her book. THE CADET OF TILDOR – 2010 finalist in Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards (under the title SERVICE OF THE CROWN) – tells the story of sixteen-year-old Renee, who struggles to keep up with her male classmates at a grueling military academy while facing a friend’s forbidden magic and her mentor’s shadowy past. CADET is upcoming from Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin) on January, 10, 2013.

Although English is Alex’s primary language, it wasn’t her first. Coming from Russia, Alex learned english in elementary school and fell in love with reading when the school librarian put Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA into her hands. Years later, in college, it was another book that re-united Alex with russian, which she had shunned in adolescence. The Three Musketeers.* Alex thanks both books, and the writers who created them.

Alex Lidell is a YA fantasy author. She is also a photographer, a horseback rider, and a paramedic. The latter two go hand in hand more often than one would like.

* The Three Musketeers was originally written in french, however the high quality russian translation has made the novel more popular in Russia than anywhere else. Having read the book in english, russian and french, Alex agrees with the general consensus.


If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Future.  Where I would look up the winning lottery number.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
Water filtration system.  Working radio with GPS locator to contact evacuation.  First aid kit.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
Make people tell me the truth

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Vanilla.  Yes, really!

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Fresh bread with unsalted butter and jam, along with a cafe latte

Pet Peeves?
People who start speaking with a variation of “Let me be honest with you” (typically followed by what they wish the truth was) or “I will tell you right now” (typically followed by their opinion of what will happen in the future)

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Because books about kick ass girls in fantasy military schools rule.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Getting to discuss my characters with readers or eavesdropping on readers discussing characters among themselves.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Find a good crit partner – one that gives you feedback at the level of details and criticism/praise balance that makes you excited about revising and improving.  Also make sure your partner understands your specific writing goals – writing for publication is different than writing for your family or yourself.

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
To write a book and try to get it published

What do you do in your free time?
Get on horseback and RUN.

The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

Tamora Pierce meets George R. R. Martin in this smart, political, medieval fantasy-thriller.

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.

The Cadet of Tildor will be released on January 10th by Penguin Dial.

Book Trailer