How do you plot novels? Do you outline?
For my middle grade fantasy novel, “The Sacred Artifact,” I did a basic outline of the whole novel with plenty of wiggle room for changes built in. I wanted to have the freedom to incorporate new interesting scenes as they developed during the writing process. If a chapter has a lot of complexity to it, I’ll do more careful outlining to make sure the pacing works, but generally my outlines are quite sparse – just the skeletal structure of the story.
Do you write in one genre, or in many different genres?
I’ve written books in a few genres. My first book, “The Enchanted River Race,” is an early chapter book. My second book, “The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf,” is a picture book. My newest books are part of a middle grade series called the Young Alchemist series. I am currently working on a young adult novel, which is a whole new experience for me. I’m having a lot of fun so far! I really enjoy the challenge of learning the intricacies of a new genre.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I like different aspects of each step of the writing process. For the brainstorming phase, I love the energy of coming up with new ideas. When I am ironing out the first draft, I love seeing the ideas materialize into an actual story. Finally, for the editing process, I enjoy seeing the text get polished into its final form.
What is your dream as an author?
I just want to keep writing books that readers enjoy and I’m proud of. Of course, writing a NY Times bestseller would be an incredible feeling, and I would love to have that experience. But at the end of the day, I just want to enjoy the process and share my work with the readers. I love the challenge of improving as a writer as well. When it stops being fun, I’ll stop doing it, but I don’t see that ever happening.
What would you like your readers to take away from your novels?
I want readers to have a positive experience when reading my books. This can mean a variety of things, from getting inspired by the story or just using it as an escape. Or perhaps they relate to a character and find a sense of comfort in knowing that there are other people like them. Maybe they read a Caldric Blackwell book and decide to write a story of their own – that’s great, too. Even if they just read my books and think it’s a fun way to pass the time, I’m happy.
What are your strong points when it comes to writing? What are your weak points?
I’m of the belief that a writer should be continuously improving in all aspects of his or her writing, from the plot to the characters to the voice. That said, I feel my strength is in crafting an intriguing plot, which is something I really was able to explore in my new middle grade fantasy, “The Sacred Artifact.” Something I am trying to work on is really bringing the characters to life. I’ll read authors like Steinbeck or Hemingway and see I have so far to go … but it’s great because it inspires me. I don’t ever want to get comfortable in my writing – I always want to have an eye toward improvement.
Are you working on something at the moment?
Yes! I’m currently working on a young adult novel set in New Orleans. It draws from a lot of experiences I had while living there. It’s quite different from my other work in that there isn’t a fantasy element, but it allows me to step back from world-building and focus on the plot and characters. I’m having a ton of fun writing it, but also grappling with the difficulty of wading into something completely new to me. I can’t say much more about the project now, but I’ll be sure to keep the readers posted on my progress!
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.