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Tuesday 25 October 2016

ℚ♫ The Fourth Piece: Order's Last Play [1] - E. Ardell

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The Fourth Piece (, 48fourteen, 338 pages), a Young Adult Urban Fantasy, book one of Order's Last Play series.

|| Synopsis || Trailer || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to Eboni Ardell; thank you for joining us!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in The Fourth Piece, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"I don’t have an exact list of songs, more a list of artists because I listen to entire [instrumental] albums. I listen to music with lyrics when I’m editing:"
What was the inspiration for The Fourth Piece?
"Well, for this particular book, the story itself has been with me since the sixth grade. I’ve always had the characters, what they were about, their powers, and their dynamics but no straight plot. I’ve played with so many plot ideas and have multiple novels (that will NEVER see the light of day) written about the main characters doing various crazy things.

What inspired the characters and the ideas I knew I wanted to go into the plot of The Fourth Piece? You’re really making me reach back into the Stone Ages for this information (the 90’s.) It was my love of watching Star Trek Generations, Space Cases, The Secret World of Alex Mack, reading G. Clifton Wisler’s The Mind Trap, L.J. Smith’s Heart of Valor, and all of my favorite little girl shows about kids being chosen and given special powers to save the world: Captain Planet, Rainbow Brite, The Tomorrow People… I can go on. I also have a burning passion for stories that allude to Arthurian Legend, especially the prophecy of his return.

I took elements of just about everything I loved to create the world, the missions of the characters, and then labored over a plot that could contain all of that. I’ve had a lot of awful drafts, and a lot of awful feedback, lol. I shelved the project for years, wrote something totally different, then came back and looked at current real world events and finally came up with a plausible plot, and looked at current YA trends to revamp the writing style. Then, I was off. The Fourth Piece evolved as I wrote it, and the story ended up taking a turn I didn’t expect, but I liked and went with it.

I know that answer was all over the place, but the process of developing this story is complicated and spanned over decades. (Oh man, decades. The 90’s was decades ago.) I’m going to stop this before I start feeling geriatric. In short, I had many inspirations and, as far as I can remember, there was no isolated or singular event that made me think of this particular story."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Haha, well I’m kind of a firm believer that most authors put teeny bits of themselves into their characters. I’m no Mary Sue, but a lot of my main characters have fractions of me in them. For example, some of Lawrence’s hyperactivity and randomness comes from me. A bit of Devon’s insecurity and desire to fit in with his peers so much that he limits himself was me in high school. Lyle’s antisocial tendencies can be mine when caught in a certain mood. And Evan’s single-mindedness in getting things done can be me when in a crunch. Sometimes, someone has to step up and say let’s get this done now, and if it means being bossy and having it your way… well, no one else was speaking up.

As for a lot of themes in the book, especially the first book, when it has to do with tolerance, is very much something I’m passionate about. I very much know what it’s like to be treated differently, sometimes even cruelly, for something I can’t help. I’m Black. I can’t pass for being anything else. I wrote about characters who can pass… but should they? It’s a minor theme, meaning it’s not the main plot of the series, but it’s there and it’s real, because it’s real now. I wanted to speak to that.

And then, there are things in the book that reflect my sense of humor. As a result, not everyone gets it, but the people who do get a kick out of it. It’s just what makes the book unique to me, “unique to me” meaning that’s what makes the book mine.

Thank you for asking this question! I enjoyed answering it :D."
:-) My pleasure - thank you!

The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for The Fourth Piece - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.

"My cover was designed by Ampersand Book Covers. The publisher asked me to give her a few ideas of what I would like to see on the cover. Did I want symbols, people, scenery, and what not? I said I’m more drawn to covers with characters on them, and I’d love to feature at least one of the main characters on the cover. I also provided examples of book covers I really liked.

From there, we looked at multiple covers made by different cover artists, some good, some not so good. I really like the covers for The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, as you can probably tell by the cover, and the publisher wanted to feature the Mark of Order the main characters all have on their backs. The first mock-ups for the cover looked way too City of Bones. There was even a cityscape in the background. I pushed for a background that was more relevant to the story and a different font for the main title and button shape around the series title. We ended up going for a boardwalk with sand blowing into it as a major scene from the book happens on a boardwalk. There was also the issue of the guy’s back. At first the publisher didn’t think it was sexy enough and wanted a more muscular back, but I pushed for the back seen on the cover because I didn’t want to give the impression that the book is a romance novel. Plus, the character on the cover is a teenager. Yes, some are highly muscular, but in general, a lot aren’t."
Why should we read The Fourth Piece and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"Well, in my opinion, human beings share a collective unconscious, because it seems like everything has been done. You’ll have a perfectly original idea that came to you in the night, only to find out someone wrote that book or made that movie five years ago… or heck, five days ago. I think what makes my book unique to the market is the fact that I’m not catering to the romance aspect or starring a kick-butt, I eat men for breakfast, I’m beautiful but don’t know it female as the lead.

I use four alternating first person perspectives and they’re all… male, teenage boys to be specific. Why? Because when these characters came to me in the sixth grade, they were boys. Always have been. They are so much fun to write about. They’re different from each other, but, in some ways, it is very clear that they are related.

Also, there’s no big love interest that plays into the main plot. There are relationships, but they won’t change the outcome of the main story. There is no love triangle or Romeo and Juliet complex, just normal boy meets girl, boy’s insecure and stupid, girl doesn’t or does like him. So this book is for the guys and girls out there that can do without epic love turning the tides of a plot. I’ve had so many teenage girls come to me (I’m a librarian) and say: I hate romance. Find me a book where it doesn’t matter so much. Here’s your book! :D

I also chose to touch upon a sensitive issue: tolerance. With everything going on, racial intolerance, religious intolerance, all of the hate crimes and war, I created a plot where instead of hating on fellow Earthborns, humans instead hate Visitors (aliens) who’ve come to settle on Earth. They’ve mingled and made homes and families, and humans hate the mixed breed kids more than they full-blooded aliens. Some mixed breed kids (vulattos) look and seem human enough to pass, so some do. The ones who can’t end up suffering for it. My main characters are people who can pass for fully human and have been…but should they?

Though this is not the main plot of the story, (my main plot is actually inspired by Arthurian Legend and other mythology because I love that stuff) it is something I wanted to address."
Can you tell us something quirky about The Fourth Piece, its story and characters?
"Haha! I’m the queen of quirks. All of my main characters make unusual analogies (this is how they show they are related) but Lawrence is the weirdest. His descriptions are often off the wall, and there are chapters when he was supposed to have POV—it was his chapter—but I had to take it from him because he’s too ridiculous and I needed the chapter to be serious.

At one point he thinks that he wouldn’t mind being dissected, but he kind of wants to watch, so if his captor could make that happen, he’d be cool with it.

He’s a character who’s been described as “a walking danger to himself.” He can’t help it. He’s a hyperactive genius and an extreme adrenaline junkie.

Another weird quirk, his mother named him after Theodore “Laurie” Laurence from the book Little Women, so she could call him “Lawrie.”"
Who would you recommend The Fourth Piece to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I would recommend my book to people maybe 14, 15 and up. There is violence and hate crimes are committed. There’s also combat and a main character facing a growing addiction who causes harm to another. They do use a few swear words. If you are a reader sensitive to this, this is not the series for you."
If you could / wished to turn The Fourth Piece and the Order's Last Play series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Okay, so I’m going to do this like IMDB and list the characters and the actors, and make a note of why I want this person, or who the person is if they aren’t popular (anymore.) I’m including models. I’m also waving a wand, so now they all speak English and are Oscar-worthy actors.

The Fourth Piece Main Cast in order of appearance

Evan Lauduethe (Ladreth)…… Emil Andersson
Lawrence “Lawrie” Ladreth: …… Avan Jogia (dead-ringer!)
Jeremy Givens ……………. Corbin Bleu
Lyle Ladreth ……… Ben Bowers
Devon Ladreth …… Andrea Denver (a teenage version, still buff though)
Galeo SeCaeta ……………. Lee Thompson Young (If we could bring him back to life… and go back in time to his Jett Jackson days. I’m sure he’d have consented to purple make-up, because Galeo is purple-skinned.)
Monica Trevino …………….. Demi Lovato
Nisse Radze …………….. Victoria Justice (she’d have to agree to have a metallic sheen added to her skin and wearing silver contacts)
Saphera SeCaeta …………… Selena Gomez (she’d have to consent to purple make-up though, because Saphera is purple-skinned)
Ambassador SeCaeta ……………… James Avery (if I could bring him back to life, and take him back to his Uncle Phil days. He’d have to consent to purple make-up though, because he’s purple.)
Joanne Conway……. Charlize Therone
Frank Conway…….. Eric Dane
Councilor Theorne ……………. Robert Downey Jr.
Councilor Viveen …………….. Jada Pinkett Smith
Jalee Orcharest ………………. Gabrielle Union (from her Bring It On days.)
Desiri Lilias ………………….. Zendaya
Adonis Maeve…………….. Zayn (if he could stretch a few more inches and be six feet tall and be a little broader)"
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I love to write urban science fiction/fantasy that ventures into folklore, fairy tale and Greek or Egyptian mythology. I also love the paranormal, which falls into science fiction/ fantasy, but hey psychics and supernatural beings are cool to me. I pretty much stick to this genre because this is what I like to read and watch on television. On occasion, it’s not strange to catch me reading chick-lit or something realistic about people with psychological issues, but I cannot see myself seriously writing anything like that, unless the characters decide to go out and fight crime like Batman. I love vigilantes and super heroes too. My bookshelves are loaded with comic books as well as novels."
What is your writing process?
"My writing process is a little “by the seat of my pants.” I outline very loosely. I know how I want the book to end. I know key things that must happen plot-wise and character development-wise. I also have a few scenes that I really want to happen within the book that are funny or I just like. After I have these scenes blocked out and put on a timeline, I have at.

The book is written in four different perspectives. For the most part I like to make it a fair rotation, giving everyone equal time, and I like to have a pattern. However, sometimes the pattern doesn’t work out. I’ll have a chapter that needs to have a particular tone to it, because of the event that happens and the character next in line for a chapter can’t establish that tone. For example, my character Lawrence is funny. He can turn anything into a joke. So, if I need a chapter to be tense and sharp, I can’t tell it through him. If I need a chapter to be lighter, I can’t use Lyle because he’s a cynic. If it’s technical, I can’t use Devon because… well, he’s not the shiniest apple in the basket :D. I have scrapped chapters halfway through because the character just isn’t telling it right, but when I switch POV’s, the chapter comes right out.

I know some authors like to do hard outlines where everything is planned and plotted out, but for me, that methods ends up being a waste of time. I have tried to make rigid outlines with everything tightly plotted out, but I’d go in to write them, and the characters just didn’t want to do that. Or they’d put their own spin on the event that then took the scene in a new direction that I liked much better than what I’d initially plotted. Many outlines have gone in the garbage because of that and I grit my teeth over how much time I spent coming up with an outline that I ended up tossing away. There are many advantages to a having a hard outline. I know it can make writing multiple books at once go faster and help keep things in line, but I like giving my characters wiggle room. Yes, it means I have a lot of false starts and scenes that never make it past the cutting board, but I end up with a lot of stuff I really love too. Scenes that I wouldn’t have gotten had I not given myself and the characters the chance to fool around.

Now, if I hit a wall and end up with writer’s block, my solution is to go for a hard outline of the chapter I’m stuck in. What happens is I’ll go into the process writing the new chapter like it’s a class assignment, but as I go, hopefully, I’ll get inspired and get my flow back. Sometimes, I might end up following the chapter outline all the way, and then the characters will launch into their own thing. Either way, I’m back on track.

So long as I meet the goals on my loose outline (and it doesn’t matter how I did it), I end up with a story I’m satisfied with. I can go back through and fine-tune. Then, it’s off to critique groups and a couple beta-readers, then to the publisher, and if she accepts the novel, it goes to the in-house editor and back to me… loaded with things for me to fix, lol."
What is in store next?
"I’m working on the sequel to The Fourth Piece, titled: The Third Gambit. This one takes place completely off-planet and really gets into what the whole series is truly about. The Fourth Piece, I feel, was necessary to build the world and the three Earthborn brothers. One reviewer said The Fourth Piece is like a prequel, and it is in a certain way. It lays the groundwork for future stories, but a lot of the time, prequels aren’t totally necessary for comprehension of a story line. The Fourth Piece is necessary.

I’m also playing around with some novellas and short stories that fit into the universe of The Fourth Piece. I’m trying to start a newsletter and I need material to feature in it so that I don’t bore people to death, lol. I want people to sign up for it."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Hahah, no pets, though I’d love a puppy. I’ve got plenty of quirks. Here’s one that always gets people who don’t know me. I love Halloween, and when I dress up, I dress up. I want to start going to cons. Here are two of my best costumes: Raven, Teen Titans (1980’s version when she wore clothes), Princess Azula (Avatar the Last Air Bender). I did karaoke in Japantown, San Francisco as Princess Azula, song: “Let It Go” :D"

Love the costumes! :-D

The Fourth Piece
Available NOW!

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1 comment:

MLS Student27 said...

Thank you so much for sharing all of this!--E. Ardell :D