by Madeline J. Reynolds
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Victorian
Release Date: November 6th 2018
I know you’re angry. It’s true, I was sent to expose your mentor as a fraud illusionist, and instead I have put your secret in jeopardy. I fear I have even put your life in jeopardy. For that I can only beg your forgiveness. I’ve fallen for you. You know I have. And I never wanted to create a rift between us, but if it means protecting you from those who wish you dead—I’ll do it. I’ll do anything to keep you safe, whatever the sacrifice. Please forgive me for all I’ve done and what I’m about to do next. I promise, it’s one magic trick no one will ever see coming.
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As someone who has always loved storytelling, in school, in addition to English, my history classes were some of my favorites. They way I looked at it, history books were also telling stories, the only difference being that the stories being told were true. I think that’s why I have come to love historical fiction so much, in particular historical fantasy. When you’re writing it, you get the opportunity to weave in the fantastical and the imagined in with historical events and settings.
With this in mind, research was crucial in that ensuring I was still delivering a story that felt honest and characters that felt like really people, regardless of the fact that Illusions is a fantasy novel. Setting was a hugely important component and was probably the element of the book that most of my historical research revolved around. I’ve never been to London, myself, so it felt like I had to work twice as hard just to make sure I was painting an accurate picture. I researched street names and how far certain neighborhoods and landmarks were from one another to see if it would make sense for characters to walk from one place to another, or if they would have to take a horse-drawn cab. Since this is a book centered around the word of stage magicians, I also did a lot of research into theaters and opera houses that would have included illusionists on their bill. Even if I only briefly mention the name of a theater, I wanted to make sure I knew what I was talking about and that it would have actually been a proper venue for this type of performance. I also looked up pubs and cafes, and the chess café where Thomas and Sav have their first unofficial date was based on a real place.
Another important element in making the book feel authentic, especially since it takes place in the 19th century, was the language. I wanted to make sure that descriptions and character dialogue felt accurate to the time period and so I did a lot of looking into common phases for the time and words that might replace more common slang and terminology we use today. One of my absolute favorite things to Google, which I ended up searching a few times, was “19th century swear words.” A few of the words and phrases managed to make it into the final book, so be sure to be on the lookout!
About the Author
Madeline J. Reynolds is a YA fantasy author living in Chicago. Originally from Minneapolis, she has a background in journalism and has always loved storytelling in its various forms. When not writing, she can be found exploring the city, eating Thai food, or lost in an epic Lord of the Rings marathon.
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