2021 Debut Author Interview: Alexandria Piette!

In 2019, we made it our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and to spread the word about their debut novels. It was such a success last year that we decided to continue the fun for years to come! Follow us this year as we pick the minds of the 2021 debuts and chat with them about their writing process and what it's like to be a new author. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats, and more!

At the end of 2020, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Alexandria Piette and her novel THE BLAZING HEART OF A MOONLIGHT ARSONIST, and we have been interested in it ever since! We are so excited to have Alexandria on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

A twenty-one-year old writer and soon-to-be self-published author from West Michigan, USA, who’s venturing to save the world (among other endeavors).  Has worked along the likes of Buddy Project, goprojectfour, and has written for several e-publications, including The Mighty, To Write Love on Her Arms, Affinity Magazine, and Women’s Republic. Is starry-eyed by intersectional social justice, raising foster siblings, being a bookworm, harmonizing the occasional tune in the shower, and viewing the myriad of Supernatural seasons on repeat.

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

The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?

Alexandria: Thank you!  I’ve been feeling a multitude of different emotions surrounding being a debut author: excitement, nervousness, like it’s surreal.  Ultimately, I’m proud of myself.  It’s something I set out to achieve, and have dreamed of for years now.  After battles with my mental health, it’s certainly a testament to myself that I am capable and shouldn’t limit my goals.  I’ve been calling my novel “a love letter to myself”, and I think that reigns true.

The Book Bratz: n your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?

Alexandria: The best part is the creativity; this overwhelming feeling of magic when you transform words into a clear-cut story.  I think the hardest is confidence that somebody, somewhere will enjoy reading what you’ve created.  That belief that your words matter.  I have a tendency to read books and poetry and think, “I’ll never be this talented.”  The truth is, I’m talented in the way that they are—by being themselves in their writing and art.  It may sound cliché, but I think it’s very important to remember.

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the idea for THE BLAZING HEART OF A MOONLIGHT ARSONIST?

Alexandria: Ideas come to me in a blink, and I’ve had the idea for my novel since I was around sixteen.  It was something I knew in my heart I would have to see through and publish someday.  There was something compelling about my main character, Rickie “Blue” Hawthorne, and her ferocity, her determination, and of course—her vices.  Something unique.  I think the outlandish idea of a seventeen-year old setting fires to cope with her trauma was and is fascinating to me, and hopefully to readers, too.

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the most difficult?

Alexandria: My favorite was the Hawthorne’s Aunt Genevieve “Ginny” Winthrop, hands down.  I wanted to create a sense of home in this woman for not only my characters, but my readers.  She’s quick-witted and no nonsense, but at the same time, she’s tenderhearted and maternal.  Her home is home to many, and I think I based her largely off my grandmother, who always says to me, “My children never brought home stray pets…they brought home stray kids.” The most difficult was Rickie.  Coincidentally, she was my easiest character, too.  I think the difficulty came from the fear of her emotional outbursts being cringeworthy and unrealistic to readers.  There’s a fire in her, though, much like the fires she sets, that is very powerful to me.  It was a matter of balancing the reality of an adolescent and, still, her strong heart that needed to be conveyed.

The Book Bratz: This book is self-published, right? Why did you go with that decision, and what do you wish more readers knew about self-published books?

Alexandria: Self-publishing grants you a lot of freedom to narrate your own story (no pun intended).  There’s nothing wrong with a formal publisher compared to self-publishing, but I think for me, I was enamored with the idea of being able to craft my own “brand”, my own vision.  The promotion end of it is something I’m still learning, but I love a little challenge in my art. I wish more readers understood that self-published authors are equally as vital to our reading experiences as anybody out there in the industry.  Some people overlook certain titles if they’re self-published, but I think some of the best literature can be found in the corners of the world where you least expect them.

The Book Bratz: What do you hope that readers will take away from THE BLAZING HEART OF A MOONLIGHT ARSONIST? 

Alexandria: Oh, man.  So many things.  The first idea that comes to mind, though, is the concept of grief and how we cope with it as humans.  I really explored the levels to grief throughout the novel itself.  I think what I would love readers to understand by reading is that we experience little cycles of grief throughout our lives like a breakup in a romantic relationship to separating yourself from a friend to disappointment and betrayal.  We experience the big cycles, too—loss of a loved one, illness, et cetera.  How we choose to deal with it is important.  It shapes us entirely, and is incredibly impactful on us as people.  That said, there is hope.  So much hope, and so much light waiting for us. That, and where you come from is not where you end up is another monumental part of the narrative.

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of THE BLAZING HEART OF A MOONLIGHT ARSONIST in the future, or do you have any other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?

Alexandria: I think the story of the Hawthornes and our Rickie has been told!  As much as it pains me to let go of these characters that have lived in my head for so long, I’m content with leaving it as a stand-alone. As for other projects, I’m developing a novelette slowly, but surely.  I’ve always wanted to tell a ghost story in my own fashion.  Think The Haunting of Hill House or The Haunting of Bly Manor, but with my own flair.  I revere those stories so tremendously, so to have something in that vein is so thrilling and dream-like.

Title: The Blazing Heart of a Moonlight Arsonist
Author: Alexandria Piette 
Publisher: Kindle Direct Publishing
Publication Date: January 21st, 2021

Summary: Rickie "Blue" Hawthorne is a firebug in the wake of what has anguished her, but what happens when the flame has lost all its meaning? In this coming-of-age, gritty drama set in the fictional Crossroads County, Michigan, protagonist Rickie Blue embarks on her addiction to the adrenaline highs of being a pyromaniac and an arsonist to cope with the terminal illness of her mother, Eleanor, and the death of her father, Wade, years prior. When her Uncle Declan visits the Hawthorne household to care for Eleanor and her two children amidst her final days, he introduces Rickie to Graham and Willa Irvine, who teach her how to find solace in being alive instead of in destruction alongside family and friendship. In the end, old habits die hard—something Rickie Blue knows all too well.

Thank you so much to Alexandria for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about THE BLAZING HEART OF A MOONLIGHT ARSONIST and it's out in the world now for everyone to enjoy!

Celebrate So Excited GIF by Hey Violet

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