1) What inspired you to start a writing career?
Growing up, I was always an avid reader. I was the kid reading books under the covers by flashlight instead of going to bed. When I studied English in college, I was intrigued by the authors’ different approaches to writing and grew interested in the actual writing process in addition to the final product.
During a summer class, I was daydreaming and had this mental image of a guy watching his house burn down. The mental image prompted many questions. I started jotting down ideas in a notebook throughout the class. Eventually, I had enough ideas to have an outline. I felt at that point I might as well try to write a full novel, which I finished in two years. I fell in love with the writing process, and although the novel was never published, it instilled a love of writing in me.
2) Is your book a stand-alone, or is it part of a series?
My new middle grade fantasy, “The Sacred Artifact,” is the second and final book in the Young Alchemist series. The first book in the series is “The Missing Alchemist.” In the first book, I introduced readers to student alchemist Craig Pike, his archer friend, Audrey Clife, and the world of the Young Alchemist series. In “The Sacred Artifact,” I get to really develop the world and dive deeper into the story. Readers also learn a lot more about the history of alchemy. The even get to see where Cornelius, Craig’s teacher, trained!
3) How does your book stand out from others?
“The Sacred Artifact” is a middle grade fantasy novel aimed at ages 10 to 14. The genre is quite eclectic, ranging from A Series of Unfortunate Events to the Percy Jackson series. I love the genre, and I think each book offers something different. My series, the Young Alchemist series, is geared toward young readers who enjoy fantasy with lots of action and adventure.
The Young Alchemist series is fast-paced and doesn’t waste time kicking into gear. That said, there is plenty of world building and character development, and I spend a fair amount of time ironing out my flavor of alchemy in the series. At the end of the day, I want the fantasy elements to augment the core of the story – the plot – rather than be the most central part. The characters are quite diverse, coming from a variety of backgrounds and motivations, so I think all readers will find someone they can root for and relate to.
4) Are any of your characters based on real-life people?
I certainly draw inspiration from people I know in real life, and there are characters that have a lot in common with people I know. But there aren’t any exact replicas of people from my life in the Young Alchemist series. It’s not that I’m against basing characters on real-life people; it just didn’t pan out that way.
5) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
If your goal is to improve as writer, then read a lot and write a lot. If each book you write is better than the previous one, you’re succeeding. Don’t get bogged down with whether your book sold 100 copies or 10,000 copies. Just focus on continuously growing as a writer.
About the Book
Title: The Sacred Artifacts
Author: Caldric Blackwell
Genre: Middle Grade
Determined to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, fourteen-year-old alchemy student Craig Pike and his teacher, Cornelius, journey to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a wise, ancient alchemist named Quintus. With the help of a witty archer, Audrey Clife, they trek across dangerous lands, compete in a cutthroat tournament, and reunite with old friends. They soon find out the artifact is more powerful than anticipated, and they aren’t the only ones seeking to discover its secrets….
Children’s book author Caldric Blackwell first realized he loved reading when he read about a bunch of people (with single-syllable names) and their pets (also with single-syllable names) in kindergarten. From that point on, he was nearly inseparable from books.
His interest in reading culminated in him studying English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Exposure to a host of great authors inspired him to begin writing fiction and started his journey to becoming a children’s book author. Although he began writing short stories for adults, he was drawn to the whimsical, imaginative nature of children’s literature and began working on his first book for children.
Blackwell’s debut work is an adventure-filled early chapter book, titled “The Enchanted River Race,” which follows a team of children as they compete in a river race. His next release is the beautifully illustrated picture book “The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf,” which revolves around a young werewolf who is self-conscious about his inability to howl.
His most recent work is the two-part Young Alchemist series, which is targeted at a middle grade audience. The first book in the series, “The Missing Alchemist,” follows alchemy student Craig Pike and clever archer Audrey Clife as they travel across mysterious lands and battle other-worldly creatures in a quest to rescue a famous alchemist. The second book in the series, “The Sacred Artifact,” centers on Craig’s attempt to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, which entails journeying to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a mysterious, ancient alchemist.
Outside of reading and writing, children’s book author Caldric Blackwell enjoys jiu jitsu, gardening, and playing bass and guitar. He currently resides in Southern California.