Review-Author Interview: Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb

cover art of children's book

Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb (The Lizzy Speare Series)

I was so pleased to hear from author, Ally Malinenko... asking for a possible review of her first book of the Lizzy Speare series, Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb. Of course I said "Yes" because I was so curious as to what I would discover inside! In addition, Ally agreed to an author interview!! How cool is that?! I must tell you from the start, I found this book to be an exciting read and picturing it as a possible future movie. Yep, it's that good. First let me share with you a little description.
About The Book
MEET LIZZY SPEARE…
…a normal twelve year old girl with a talent for writing, who has a very notnormal family secret. And when Lizzy’s father vanishes, that secret will change her life in ways unimagined. (Spoiler Alert!  It turns out that Lizzy, or Elizabeth S. Speare, is the last living descendant of William Shakespeare.  Shhh!  Don’t tell anybody!)
Then Lizzy and her best friend Sammy are kidnapped, awakening in the faraway land of Manhattan. Their host is Jonathan Muse, whose job is to protect Lizzy from becoming the latest victim in a family feud going back nearly five hundred years.  Is that why is the mysterious, eye patch-wearing Dmitri Marlowe is after her? (Spoiler Alert 2—he’s the last living descendant of Christopher Marlowe, a friend and rival of Shakespeare’s.  But keep it to yourself!) Is Marlowe after Lizzy’s family fortune rumored to be kept in the tomb of that bald guy with the goatee? Does he seek artistic immortality? Or Revenge (with a capital R) for a death long, long ago?
In a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, Lizzy and Sammy are thrust into the realm of the mythical and fantastic—from satyrs and Cyclopses to Middle Eastern cab drivers and Brooklyn hipsters in what is truly “an improbable fiction” as the Bard himself once wrote.
About The Author 

Ally Malinenko is amazing!
You'll find her page at http://www.goodreads.com
For more information, visit her website http://allymalinenko.com/
My Review (Fascinating, thrilling, superb!)
 Riveting! I thought the prologue was great and I had to read more! With all eyes on the main character Lizzy, who happens to inherit a legacy, we meet many members of her family with exciting doors opening into her past. Not a perfect family, mind you but with the help of her friend Sammy and the magical writings of a talented author who greatly admires William Shakespeare , together they meet a Symphonia, Satyr and Muse. Although their journey back in time seems like a dream and sometimes a scary adventure, in the end or perhaps on the verge of another sequel, Elizabeth Speare faces her destiny.
A refreshing bridge and fun approach for young people to cross over and enjoy a famous part of English literature. I loved the book; thoroughly entertaining!
5/5 stars! Highly recommend.
Interview with author, Ally Malinenko
 


Tell us a bit about your book and where it’s available.

Here’s what’s written on the back of the book:

MEET LIZZY SPEARE…
…a normal twelve year old girl with a talent for writing, who has a very not normal family secret. And when Lizzy’s father vanishes, that secret will change her life in ways unimagined. (Spoiler Alert!  It turns out that Lizzy, or Elizabeth S. Speare, is the last living descendant of William Shakespeare.  Shhh!  Don’t tell anybody!)
Then Lizzy and her best friend Sammy are kidnapped, awakening in the faraway land of Manhattan. Their host is Jonathan Muse, whose job is to protect Lizzy from becoming the latest victim in a family feud going back nearly five hundred years.  Is that why the mysterious, eye patch-wearing Dmitri Marlowe is after her? (Spoiler Alert 2—he’s the last living descendant of Christopher Marlowe, a friend and rival of Shakespeare’s.  But keep it to yourself!) Is Marlowe after Lizzy’s family fortune rumored to be kept in the tomb of that bald guy with the goatee? Does he seek artistic immortality? Or Revenge (with a capital R) for a death long, long ago?
In a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, Lizzy and Sammy are thrust into the realm of the mythical and fantastic—from satyrs and Cyclopses to Middle Eastern cab drivers and Brooklyn hipsters in what is truly “an improbable fiction” as the Bard himself once wrote.
But the book is also about figuring out who you are and very much about how messy and complicated and beautiful family can be.
Right now it’s only available on Amazon but that should be changing soon to include iBooks, B&N, Smashwords, etc.


 What was the inspiration for your book?

I was in a Barnes and Noble in downtown Brooklyn and saw a book called Eddie Dickens by Philip Ardagh. It was a cute story about a boy named Eddie Dickens living in Victorian London. I thought it was such a clever idea. On the way home, thinking about Shakespeare, my favorite writer, I started to imagine his descendents and then I had Lizzy, and Jonathan and Dmitri Marlowe. Of course at the time they were very different than they wound up being in the final version. But that’s where it began.


 What was your aim for this book? What did you want readers to think and feel when reading it?

Wow that’s a really good question. Ultimately I wanted to write the kind of story that I would have wanted to read when I was ten years old - a story with action and a ton of heart and main character that I could relate to. Hopefully that’s what I did. As for as how reader’s feel – I want them to feel however they do but if anything I guess it was important to me to show my bad guy, Dmitri Marlowe as not just bad but maybe very hurt and very misunderstood. Since the world isn’t filled with evil bad guys and perfect good guys I didn’t want to fill my story with them. Both Jonathan and Dmitri have done things they weren’t proud of. The situation is always shades of grey.


Do you have any other books currently available?

I have a book of poetry entitled The Wanting Bone which was published by Six Gallery Press in 2008. And I have a second book of poems slated for release from Tainted Coffee Press entitled Crashing to Earth.


What will you be working on next?

I’m currently working on the second Lizzy Speare book which is tentatively called Lizzy Speare and the Hall of Hecate. I am also working on a YA book about time travel, chess, street kids and doppelgangers. It’s my first foray into serious Science Fiction.


 How did you originally get into writing?

I always like telling stories. I think maybe that’s how a lot of people wind up becoming writers. When I was younger I used to bore my friends to tears re-telling the books I was reading or whatever it was that I dreamt about the night before. I have an overactive imagination. It just seemed natural to start writing them down.


What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

I love the Act of Creation. That moment when you are first coming up with an idea and your brain is firing out of control and you’re flooded with all these ideas. Then the revision part – with all the clean up – comes. That’s less fun.


What do you find hardest about being a writer?

Keeping myself in check. My books tend to get very long (my current YA manuscript is 550 pages long) and I have trouble figuring out what needs to be cut, what is repetitive, what needs to be changed. That’s the great thing about having beta readers. They’ll tell you what is working and what isn’t working.


Who or what would you count as your main influence?

Probably the books that I’ve read – especially when I was 9-12 years old. They were the things that made me want to be a writer. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe especially was one book that I remember finishing and thinking, This is a job? I want this job!


 What do you enjoy reading?

I read a little of everything. I still read middle grade books to keep myself fresh and I’ve always loved YA. I read poetry but not as much as I wish I did. And I love non-fiction. I’ve been really interested in polar exploration lately so I’ve been reading a lot about Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shakleton. I also recently read a book on Mallory’s summit attempt on Everest. Currently I’m reading a bio on Mozart and another on the notion of mindfulness in the character of Sherlock Holmes.

 Who is your favorite author?

I don’t have one single favorite author. I can’t imagine only picking one when there are so many great writers out there. As far as my favorite authors from when I was younger – C.S. Lewis and Madeline L’Engle took the cake for me. But I love more current MG and YA writers – of course Rowling and Pullman and Snicket. Also, I love Salinger and Virginia Woolf. Marie Howe and Sharon Olds are two of my favorite current poets. Fantasy wise, I’m a big fan of Gaiman. And of course – the man of the hour -  Shakespeare!



What would be your ideal writer’s haven for creating your book? Would you have a desk in a quiet cabin somewhere or an iPad on the beach?

Actually I think right now I have my idea writer’s haven. It’s a closet with a built in bookshelf and enough room for my desk, a radio to play the classical music station, my comic books and my cat, June. It’s quite and lit with a beautiful soft orange light and at 5 am, when I’m in there working, it feels like home.

A big heart-felt thank you to Ally Malinenko for sharing such wonderful conversation throughout this interview and providing the opportunity for myself and book readers to get to know you. Best wishes and much continued success. I'll definitely be on the lookout for the next book!

Best, 







 “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." C. S. Lewis
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