2020 Debut Interview: Alicia Jasinska!

In 2019, we made it our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. It was such a success last year that we decided to continue the fun this year as well! Follow us this year as we pick the minds of the 2020 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats and more!
At the end of 2019, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Alicia Jasinska and her novel THE DARK TIDE, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Alicia on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

Alicia Jasinska is a fantasy writer hailing from Sydney, Australia. A library technician by day, she spends her nights writing and hanging upside down from the trapeze and aerial hoop.

Keep up with Alicia: Website / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads

The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?
Alicia: Thank you! Honestly, it’s both a dream come true and also kind of terrifying. Especially with everything that’s been going on in the world of late. I imagined a lot of things about my debut year, but I never thought I’d have a book coming out during a global pandemic. I’m trying to hang onto the excitement I felt when I first got the news I was going to be published. I’ve wanted this for years and I’ve worked so hard to get to this place!
The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?
Alicia: My favourite part is definitely revising. There’s something so satisfying about polishing a page or paragraph until every line sings! The hardest part is what I call the plotting/outlining stage – I can’t even start getting proper words down until I know exactly how the story goes in my head. I need to have every beat, every twist, all mapped out. Which is frustrating because it means I spend a lot of time feeling like I’m not making much progress. On the bright side though, it means I have very clean first drafts.

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the inspiration for THE DARK TIDE?
Alicia: So many places! THE DARK TIDE is basically a love letter to all the dark fairy tales I loved growing up. Stories filled with witches and sacrifices and strange magics. I drew inspiration from two in particular: The Ballad of Tam Lin, a Scottish folktale about a girl who saves the boy she loves from being sacrificed by an evil queen, and the Polish legend of Wineta, an island city that was swallowed by the sea because its inhabitants were so wicked. There were very rarely any queer characters in the fairy tales I read, so I wanted to write my own where readers like me could see themselves. 

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the most difficult?
Alicia: Ooh, that’s hard! THE DARK TIDE is dual POV and I loved writing from both Lina and Eva’s perspectives. They’re very much foils for each, contrasts. It really depended on how I was feeling that day as to who was more difficult to write. If I was in a sunny mood, happy, and surrounded by family, it was easier to get inside Lina’s head, and when I was in a darker, saltier mood it was easier to find Eva’s voice, if that makes sense.     

The Book Bratz: With a fantasy book as intricate as this one, how do you go about planning and plotting?
Alicia: I’m a huge fan of beat sheets! Things like Save the Cat and Three Act Structure. I love being able to see the whole skeleton of the story at a glance, and they really help me with pacing and timing each plot element. I usually do one sheet for the story as a whole and then separate sheets that focus on each character’s arc. 

The Book Bratz: WWhat do you hope that readers will take away from THE DARK TIDE?
Alicia: I hope it lets them escape reality for a while haha. Like I said before, 2020 is A LOT. I know I’ve definitely been escaping into different book worlds to relieve my stress. So I hope readers can escape into THE DARK TIDE’S world, lose themselves for a moment in a sea of dark magic, and maybe even fall in love with the characters. 

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of THE DARK TIDE in the future, or do you have any other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?
Alicia: THE DARK TIDE is officially a standalone, but I’d love to return to the world in the future if given the chance. I already miss the characters so much! But for now, I’m busy working on a new dark fantasy set in a wintery world that draws heavily on Polish folklore. 

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Title: The Dark Tide
Author: Alicia Jasinska
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2020

Summary: Every year on St. Walpurga's Eve, Caldella's Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking. Lina Kirk is convinced her brother is going to be taken this year. To save him, she enlists the help of Thomas Lin, the boy she secretly loves, and the only person to ever escape from the palace. But they draw the queen's attention, and Thomas is chosen as the sacrifice. Queen Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won't make the same mistake. She's willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city. When Lina offers herself to the queen in exchange for Thomas's freedom, the two girls await the full moon together. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldella's streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.

Thank you so much to Alicia for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about THE DARK TIDE and can't wait for it to be out in the world on June 2nd

Celebrate So Excited GIF by Hey Violet

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