Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Caldric Blackwell, The Sacred Artifact

middle grade book, middle grade fantasy, caldric blackwell, the sacred artifact, the young alchemist series, caldric
Today we are interviewing Caldric Blackwell about his new middle grade fantasy, "The Sacred Artifact," the second and final book in the Young Alchemist series. 

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in the Bay Area, but went to college in Santa Barbara. In college, I studied English and psychology. After writing short stories for a while, I eventually transitioned to writing children's books. I’m currently living in Southern California.

Describe your new middle grade fantasy novel, "The Sacred Artifact."
This book concludes the Young Alchemist series. The story follows fourteen-year-old alchemy student Craig Pike, Cornelius (a famous alchemist), and Audrey, a witty archer, on an adventure to uncover the secrets of a sacred artifact. Their adventure takes them to a number of magical places, including the birthplace of alchemy itself. They soon discover their journey is more complicated than they anticipated, and they aren’t the only one looking to uncover the secrets of the sacred artifact.

How was writing “The Sacred Artifact” different from writing the first book in the series?
Good question! In the first book, I introduced readers to Craig Pike and Audrey Clife and the world of the Young Alchemist series. In this book, I get to really develop the world and introduce a cast of new interesting characters. Readers also learn more about the history of alchemy. The even get to see where Cornelius, Craig’s teacher, trained and meet his teacher!

Who was your favorite character to write?
That’s tough! I really enjoyed writing more about Craig and Audrey because they’re so familiar to me. I think my favorite character to write, though, is Quintus. He’s a wise, ancient alchemist who taught Cornelius. He’s very quiet and reflective, and it was a nice challenge trying to capture his character for the reader. He is a pivitol character in the plot, so I wanted to be sure I did him justice for the readers.

You mentioned earlier that the book takes place in new locations. Can you tell us about some of them?
Sure, this book is really an adventure story. You have the characters travelling to exotic locations to solve the mystery of the sacred artifact. I didn’t want the characters staying in any place for too long. And I didn’t want them visiting places that seemed familiar. Part of the fun is taking them out of their element. They journey across swamps, riddled with pirates, barren planes, a great metropolis, and my favorite place…a tundra region! The characters travel take a ship across a place that is similar to the Arctic Ocean. It was fun having the characters cope with the challenges that such an environment poses! 

Was it hard wrapping up the series? 
Yes and no. I knew how the series ended pretty early on. The challenge was getting to that ending in a way that was fun for the readers. I wanted the readers, who have been with the characters for hundreds of pages, to have closure when it ended. This book is interesting because it both expands the world of the series while at the same time ending it. So it was certainly a balancing act. I was sad writing the ending, having spent so many years with the characters, but I think I did the story justice. 

What do you have in mind for your next project?
I’m currently working on a young adult book. It’s very different from my other projects, but I’m excited about it.

Anything else you want to add?
Anyone interested in learning more about my middle-grade novel The Sacred Artifact or any of my other books can find more information at https://www.caldricblackwell.com.

More Information
Buy "The Sacred Artifact" on Kindle
Buy "The Sacred Artifact" paperback
Follow Caldric Blackwell on Twitter
Like Caldric Blackwell on Facebook
Check out Caldric Blackwell on Goodreads
Follow Caldric Blackwell on Instagram
Visit "The Sacred Artifact" website