An Apprentice Escapes BLOG TOUR (Author Interview)

I’m so excited to be helping out with the blog tour for Lillian Keith’s debut novel, An Apprentice Escapes.

Without further ado, take a look at the synopsis:

At least we still had each other…until they came.

Thirteen year old Lyla is on the run, simply because she and her mother had an underground apothecary’s practice—the last in the whole province. Now, with Mama in jail, Lyla must escape the Daviron city officials who are bent on catching her. Befriending a runaway street boy, Lyla sets out for the only refuge she knows: the forest. Yet danger lurks in every dark shadow, and seemingly friendly people could be enemies in disguise.

Will her mama’s final words be enough to guide her forward and lead her to the safety of the forest?  Or will Lyla be caught and sent away to an unknown fate?

Welcome to Lillian Keith’s debut middle-grade story, set in a fantasy 19th century-style universe.

Lily (as she prefers to be called), is a Christian homeschooled graduate who loves children’s literature.  Growing up, she read amazing, thought-provoking stories that nurtured her love of storytelling and sparked her imagination.  Now, she hopes to share her God-given gift to other kids and inspire them to dream up new adventures and look at the world from a new perspective.  You can find her entertaining kids on her blog (with her sister of course!)  Or you can connect with her on Pinterest where she’s starting up storyboards (and organizing all the random pins she’s saved.)

Now . . . for the interview!

  1. Thanks for joining me today! What was your first inspiration for this book?

Hi Hannah!  Thanks so much for having me on your blog; I feel so blessed to be here.

Okay, so it started in the spring of 2020.  I was taking an online writing class and had to come up with a 1k word children’s story.  I was trying a new technique of brainstorming called ‘clustering.’  It’s where you take one idea, or object, say, a ‘candle’.  You write it down and circle it; then you draw spokes outward to connect random thoughts that come to your mind when you think of the word ‘candle’ (or whatever idea you picked.)  I can’t remember what word I started with exactly, but I ended up with this mental picture of a girl all alone.  I remember hearing about real life stories where kids became separated from their parents (they became lost, or disaster struck, war came, etc.) and I wanted to explore the ‘what if’ of a girl whose mother was taken and now had to survive on her own (also, I developed a love for MG dystopian stories, so that played an influence on which genre this story would fall into.)

  1. Did you have a music playlist and/or Pinterest board you frequented during the writing?

Actually, I don’t listen to music while I write *haha*.  I like to be able to fully concentrate on my story.  As for a Pinterest board, I didn’t put one together until the story was done.  However, I did have a couple pictures of my main character (Lyla) and a favorite side character.  I would refer to those to get inspiration on who they were and what their personalities were like (and how they would clash *grins slyly*)

  1. What is your favorite thing about your main character?

I love Lyla’s loyalty and relationship with her mom.  I also admire her perseverance to hold to what she’s learned, even when circumstances or people challenge her worldview.

  1. Do you and your main character share any traits or likes/dislikes?

Hmm. I’d say that Lyla and I are both pretty quiet people. We both love our moms deeply. We also don’t like to see people suffer. However, I don’t have the stomach to be a medicine practitioner, so Lyla trumps me on that one!

  1. What was the biggest challenge for you when writing this book?

I’d say doubt and some unrealistic expectations (especially in the self-publishing arena) were my biggest challenges. While I was reworking An Apprentice Escapes, I had doubts that it was good enough to be published. It wasn’t until people I trusted most pushed me to face an important question: would I be okay with writing stories that were never read by anyone but me? Would I be happy to keep writing as a ‘side hobby’? Publishing was hard and something few people do. You really have to persevere to get published, whether it be the traditional or indie route. Yet, I had always wanted to hold my story in my hands and share it with people. I knew that I wanted my story to become a book. So, I took a big step toward reaching the goal of publishing a book, as scary as it was.

As for unrealistic expectations, well, I confess that I’m a perfectionist 2.0 *cough*. I had a vision for how this book would turn out and how I’d get it self-published. But then, there were a lot of obstacles to overcome (one, being the doubt I mentioned before). I learned that even if you did all your research on writing and publishing, there’s always going to be some unforeseen circumstance that changes your plans. So learning to be patient, and letting go of everything you want has been an important lesson for me. It’s okay if things don’t go exactly as planned. In fact, something better may come out of the unexpected.

  1. Do you have another book planned? *wink*

Haha…. Oh wait, you guys are serious?  Well, I am kicking around a few sequel ideas and talking with the characters to see if something will come up.  Unfortunately, my characters thought it’d be fun to take a vacation and haven’t gotten back to me yet *sighs*.  Oh well.  On the other hand, there is this MG novel that’s feeling rather neglected, so I’ve started revisiting it and working out the kinks in the plot.  We’ll see how this one goes. *fingers crossed*

  1. BONUS! Tell us one random humorous thing that happened while you were writing this book.

So, the middle of my story needed to be expanded and worked on.  And I needed to add some new characters.  One day while sitting at the desk, a character showed up at my door (I won’t spoil it and say who, but….) he insisted on being in the story.  I had planned on him being in a completely different book, but he insisted he belonged in this current one.  After going back and forth for quite some time, he won the argument and I finally gave him a spot in the story. (I can still see him grinning triumphantly. Side characters! *rolls eyes*)

Thanks a million, Lilian!

Check out the rest of the blog tour fun below!

Oct. 5th: The Pencil Sisters (Blog Tag)
Oct. 6th Hannah Gaudette (Author Interview)             
Emily Begren (Blog Tag)
Oct. 7th: Teen Writer’s Nook (Author Interview)
Oct. 8th Christine Smith Instagram (Spotlight)
Oct. 9th: The Pencil Sisters (Tag and Wrap-Up)


Published by Hannah Gaudette

Hannah Gaudette is a home-school graduate living in the hills of New England. When she’s not writing or playing with the dogs, it’s a safe bet you can find her with some other animal, like goats. She is the founder of a sustainable agriculture movement called STEWARDSHIP in central Maine. She's a life-enthusiast and advocate for food allergy awareness, youth ministry, and service dogs.

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