Welcome Wednesday: Venturing Out with Beth Alvarez

Author: Beth Alvarez

Books: To Steal the World, To Steal the Crown

Genre: Fantasy

About the Book:

To Steal the Crown: To become leader of Orrad’s thieves, ex-mage Tahl has to pull off the heist of the century—again. His target? The emperor himself. @lomilmalinde #Fantasy

Venturing Out:

Beth Alverez grew up on fantasy books. It isn’t surprising then, that her latest book, To Steal the Crown, is also fantasy.

“It’s always been my first love,” Beth shared. “But I’ve written some modern paranormal stuff too. Lately I’ve felt called to return to my love of fantasy and my next half-dozen projects all fall into that category.”

To Steal the Crown is a magic heist adventure and is the second in the series. What distinguishes this book from Beth’s other works is its length.

“I typically write really long fiction, but I get burned out on those projects after a while. I had the idea to try writing something shorter in between my big projects. The Westkings Heist series was born from that. I wanted to write something punchy and adventurous, featuring a character you wouldn’t normally think of as a protagonist. They’re styled to be quick reads that are hyper-focused on one heist at a time, one adventure in a thief’s life. But they’re also linear, so there’s an overarching story that expands as you progress through the series, and that’s where a lot of the character development happens.”

Similar to what happens when you read a book, writing a book changes you.

“I learn a lot from every book I write,” said Beth, “and this one was really about learning to have fun again by deviating from the sort of stories I usually write. I challenged myself a lot, writing things outside what I’m used to while still remaining comfortably within my favorite genre, and I found that I liked it a lot. Even though I don’t see myself writing a lot of novellas after this series is done, I feel like doing these has made me a more confident writer and has encouraged me to be more willing to explore and take risks in my storytelling. They won’t appeal to everyone, but hopefully there are some who will enjoy reading these new risks and experiments as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.”

Beyond having an adventure, the main character grows to understand the far-reaching impact his actions have, and how they spread beyond his original intent.

“There’s a definite theme of learning to accept responsibility for those actions, even when you don’t feel like you’re ready,” Beth explained. “A lot of the main character’s misbehavior is not without repercussions. He earns a lot of scars through the series, physical ones that he brings upon himself by acting out. But even though Tahl is a thief, he’s not a bad guy, and there are little hints of that which I hope shine through. There are moments where you see the hints of altruism, and as the series progresses, he begins to tilt toward being more of a Robin Hood type figure. Less selfishly motivated. More focused on using his unusual skill set to help others, and more aware of what he can do to benefit the greater good.”

I asked Beth if she ever pulled from her own experience to help her the book.

“It’s weird,” she said, “because it really only ties into one major scene, but my early life experience of working with horses made me think a lot about how I wanted to work their role into this installment. There’s a part with a horseback chase, and I think knowing how it feels to be on an animal that’s out of control influenced a lot of that part. It helped to know much it hurts to be thrown, too.”

“So, is that kind of what it’s like being an author sometimes?”

“It’s definitely what it’s like being an author! I always write from an outline, but so far, I’ve never stuck to it. The characters always seem to have a mind of their own and drag me along whether I want to go or not. It’s always an adventure, but sometimes a rough ride…”

Perhaps this analogy describes life in general. As much as we’d like to think we can control every part of it, the truth is we can’t. Sometimes we are given the opportunity to take hold of the reins and direct it as we choose. Other times, however, it feels like we’re merely hanging on for dear life and trusting we’ll come out all right in the end.

Book Blurb

Without chaos, Orrad can’t have a hero.

After the impossible heist that put ex-mage Tahl on the map and put the name of the Ghost on the lips of everyone in Orrad, he disappeared. Without a guild to keep thieves organized, the city is consumed by fear, and a never-ending stream of false Ghosts swing from the gallows.

Determined to draw a new guild from the ashes of Bahar Eseri’s empire, Tahl plans to stage his return at the height of the city’s unrest. To prove his identity and claim to the name of Ghost, he must pull off the greatest heist the Westkings have ever known—again.

His target?

The emperor himself.

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