"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!" (Mary Quallo, St Louis)

"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!"  (Mary Quallo, St Louis)
Coming next week - Carla Eatherington

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Alesha Escobar...around the Cauldron

Master Wizards debate
In the third of the "Matt Posner*" interviews, the Wizard meets delightful fantasist, trilogist and reviewer Alesha Escobar who, when called, was busy being coralled  by her four mischievous children somewhere toasting underneath the summer California sunshine.  Here's what she had to say on the Wizphone.

*So called because they were all introduced to the Green Wizard by Matt Posner at the School of Ages Conference which took place in a fifth dimensional hallway deep within in a New York brownstone. http://schooloftheages.webs.com/

Hello Alesha and welcome to the show

Hi Wiz! Glad to be here.

Bloodthirsty English pirate, skullduggery merchant and intrepid circumnavigator Sir Francis
Drake was the second European to visit central California, home
of Alesha Escobar. He called it New Albion and this upset the dominant Spanish once more, an act which led directly to the Spanish Armada (1588) and the eventual defeat of
Imperial Spain.  

Tell Wizardwatchers about yourself, Alesha.

I wrote my first short story at the age of seven, and I’ve never gotten it out of my system. I love telling stories and entertaining people. I enjoy books, movies, and learning from other people and experiences. I live in California with my husband, Luis, who’s a 20-year veteran artist on The Simpsons television show.

What genre do you write in?

Fantasy. There’s just something fascinating and enchanting about stepping into a story full of magic.

Tell us about the Gray Tower Trilogy? What’s it about?

The Gray Tower Trilogy is a fantasy series set in an alternate WWII where Hitler is using the occult to win the war--and so the Allies employ wizards from the Gray Tower to fight back. One of those wizards is the heroine of the series, Isabella George. 

She’s a spy with the famed Special Operations Executive, and an alchemist trained by the Tower. 

However, the deaths and disappearances of colleagues and friends weigh down on her, and she wants to retire, and she agrees to one final mission. Things get complicated when her cover as a spy is blown, a vampiric Cruenti warlock stalks her, and the so-called benevolent Master Wizards of the Gray Tower turn out to hold deadly secrets about her past.

I'm well aware of those Master Wizards, Alesha. 

I thought you might be, Wiz.

One is a cousin of mine. Nice bloke. Does incredible things with frogs.

As Wizards do! haha. Anyway, the second book of the trilogy is currently free to download in ebook format. Have a look!

I shall do. What is your most recent work? Have you anything coming soon?

I’m finishing the final book of the Gray Tower Trilogy (Circadian Circle). I’m also working on a short story for an anthology with HDWP Books. If you enjoyed American Gods, then you’ll like this short story.

Neil Gaiman, writer of "American Gods"
became well known to American audiences through
DC Comics' "Sandman", which, along with artist Dave McKean,
proved a high water mark in the graphic fantasy genre

You have an excellent website. Tell us about that.

Thank you! I run a blog where readers can grab a cup of tea, settle down, and read some of my outlandish thoughts, be introduced to some up-and-coming authors, and read book reviews. I also keep readers up to date on the Gray Tower Trilogy.

Alesha'a Blog and Website

I understand you are a Dr Who buff? Who is your favourite Doctor and who is your favourite villain/villains?

Yes! My husband introduced me to Dr Who around the time of Eccleston (Ninth Doctor), and so I just loved him. 

Shakespearean "serious" thespian, Chris Ecc.

But, damn it, he never told me that the Doctor died and regenerated with a new body, and I didn’t think I’d like the Tenth Doctor (but he became a favourite as well). 

As for villains, I really enjoyed the Master and the weeping angels. Now I can’t go anywhere with statues without staring at them and backing away while avoiding blinking.

The original Master.

You are an extensive and consistent book reviewer. 
What three tips can you offer novice reviewers for assessing books written by people they know and like?

1. Center it on your reading experience, so you can openly share with others what worked for you and what didn’t.

2.  Have fun with it. If it’s a tedious process for you, it will come across in your review. People want to read book reviews not only to find out more about a story, but to also somewhat participate in your reaction. Sometimes I’m a goofball and employ a bit of humour and sarcasm. So far, no one’s yelled at me, so I think it’s okay.

3.  It’s perfectly fine to take notes on the book you’re reading and reviewing, and even contact the author (if available) and ask questions for clarification or insight.

Feathery Turkeys. The one on the right is called Dan and the one
on the left is called Dean
Have you ever had to review a real feathery turkey? What did you do? How did you get out of the mess? 

I’ve had that experience, and it was a book that actually had an intriguing premise and great set-up. It just had a few issues that needed to be worked out before coming to me. 

"What I did was privately contact the author and offer to review the book once those issues were fixed. I don’t believe in attacking people’s work or trying to tear down the hard work someone has put into a story. We all have unique imaginations and stories to tell, and I can appreciate the courage of any writer who decides to take the leap and publish".

Daleks teleport into your penthouse apartment and, with robotic voices, say they are going to exterminate, exterminate, exterminate you unless you tip them three great books, two buzzing CD’s and a banging film they can take back to entertain Davros on Skaros while he is recuperating from a Dalekball injury. What would you suggest?

I’d hand them The Divine Comedy

Lord of the Rings,

Real LOTR Tattoo

 and throw in a Shakespearean tragedy...(or a textbook) 


...because I’m sure they’d appreciate the body count. 

As for music, I think they could Dalek-rock-out to Muse and Portishead

There are so many good films to suggest...oooh, perhaps I’d get them hooked onto the LOST television series instead.

How do you pass the time when not writing or reviewing?

I like working with my hands, so you might find me making little pieces of jewelry, baking cakes, and even creating my own soaps. Oh yes, and I’m a mom of four, so that also keeps me quite busy!

What can visitors chez Escobar expect for dinner?

A delicious pasta dish with vegetables and sausage. You’ll be served a cool glass of mineral water, and a homemade cake or pie.

And finally, what do fans of Alesha Escobar expect from you in the coming year?

A few Gray Tower short stories (perhaps even a prequel) and a collaborative fantasy series I’m planning with my husband. 

Alesha, it's been a pleasure to meet you around the Cauldron and I wish you every success in the future.

Wiz, the pleasure has been all mine.

Alesha Live - Novel Writing Seminar

Contact and sales



Blog: http://www.aleshaescobar.com

Original Cover


  1. You are a sensitive reviewer, Alesha, for contacting the author privately - more reviewers should be like you. Best of luck with sales. Kudos to the Great Wizard for another job well done!

    1. Would agree with you, Mary Ann, nice touch regarding the reviewing from Alesha.

    2. I agree. I've read a couple of Alesha's reviews and they are very good and insightful. I remember Ngaire rebuking me for my review of crap mercenary novel "Cry Havoc", a caustic piece of spite which I unfortunately lost to a virus-ridden reboot, and which was so horrible, it made me feel guilty. You have to be mindful of the author's feelings, sometimes. Unless that author is Dan Brown. Oh, and tip for the day. Never end a character's name with an S.

  2. Thank you, Mary! And thanks to Mark for an amazing interview.

  3. Interesting theme for your trilogy, Alesha, are the Gray Tower novels aimed for YA or adult reading?

  4. Nice to see you back, N.:-) Looking forward to seeing you back on the mic too!! :-)

    1. I was at a caber tosser's seminar, Wiz, busy tossing some mighty big logs!!! n x


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.