Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
Author T. K. Arispe is an illustrator, too – and just look at her ‘very realistic icon version” of herself:
I am very happy to welcome her here today and thank her for answering my questions and allowing me to share her answers with you here. Read on to find out more about this talented lady, her writing and book…..
Where did you get the inspiration for the book?
Pixeldust is inspired by my fond memories of growing up playing video games with my siblings. Like Maria Elena, I found myself more interested in helping video game villains resolve their issues instead of fighting them, and it frustrated me that video game plotlines always led to boss battles. I thought it would be fun to mess with that cliché and some other ones besides.
What is your writing process?
The first step in my novel writing process is always the outline. I’ll start with the basic ideas for the plot, and then expand it into an outline explaining the characters, the setting, and the story. Often this outline is something I work on intermittently for at least a few months, as part of my novel backlog. When I’m ready to work on the idea, I tend to binge-write the first draft and finish it in a matter of months, as I’m writing for hours every day. Once I get the ball rolling on a manuscript, it picks up momentum quickly and I can’t put it down until it’s done.
Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?
I write on a computer because I type much faster than I write. I distinctly remember being very frustrated trying to write things as a child because I thought so much faster than I could get the words down on paper. Typing narrows that gap enough to make the process much less painstaking.
Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?
Ooh, it’s tough for me to play favourites! I think it’s interesting how often, my favourite characters are people I wasn’t expecting. For example, in Pixeldust, I had an unexpected amount of fun writing Marlowe, and ended up expanding her role in the plot more than I had originally intended because of that. I like her because she’s very charismatic and has an offbeat sense of humour, and is mischievous enough to be interesting but good-hearted enough to be someone I can root for.
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
I think I’d like to be Maria Elena/Quinny. She has a tight-knit, loving family, a bunch of really cool friends who care about her, and a fun job practicing magic for a city of monsters. Sounds good to me!
How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
When I decided to make the main human characters Hispanic, I knew I had to use them to pay homage to my own family. Maria Elena is named after my grandfather’s sister, who passed away from polio when she was 4. I wanted to memorialize her in a novel and sort of give her a second, fictional life. Balt is named after my 3rd-great-uncle Baltazar. I thought his name was really cool and unique—plus I’ve seen pictures of him and he had an enormous moustache that he must have been quite proud of. I feel like he was probably quite the character, so he was the inspiration for Maria Elena’s goofy, outgoing brother.
Thank you so much for answering my questions – I really enjoyed reading your answers!
Read on now to discover more about Pixeldust . . .
Maria Elena thought she’d sworn off gaming forever. But she hates her new internship, so her brother Balt convinces her to play Heroes of Avonell, a cutting-edge virtual-reality video game with such complex programming that it’s like the non-player characters are self-aware.
Disappointed with the usual cliché job class offerings, Maria Elena’s character Quinny stumbles through a glitch in the game and ends up in Caed Dhraos, a strange city populated with friendly monsters. Quinny decides to work for the resident dark lord as part of his magic personnel, but she can’t tell anybody she’s playing in off-limits areas of the game—not even Balt. Soon Quinny finds herself getting to the bottom of a mystery surrounding an ancient demon and why Caed Dhraos is suffering from the Blight.
But the artificial intelligences in the game really are self-aware, and some of Avonell’s so-called “heroes” have decided they don’t like humanity very much. The game has gone out of control, and Maria Elena and her new friends have to find a way to set things right. Can she save Avonell – and Earth – while juggling her real job and trying to salvage her crumbling relationship with her brother?
Pixeldust is a dive into a fantastical, fun virtual world where the universe may be made of data, but the dangers, friendships, magic, and lessons learned are very real.
Author Bio –
T. K. Arispe is an illustrator, gamer, and unashamed nerd with a background in animation and webcomic production, including the webcomic Trainer Wants to Fight! which somehow got its own page on TVTropes. She loves interesting stories, well-crafted worlds, and memorable characters, and is passionate about creating quality, intelligent, slightly offbeat media that everyone can enjoy. Most of her story ideas come from random research binges, usually in the fields of theoretical physics, computer science, or oddly enough food history. She lives in California, where she enjoys not having to deal with snow because it is terrifying.
Social Media Links –