We had the pleasure of chatting with George Jreije all about his book SHAD HADID AND THE ALCHEMISTS OF ALEXANDRIA!
ABOUT SHAD HADID AND THE ALCHEMISTS OF ALEXANDRIA
You are invited to the Alexandria Academy . . .
Twelve-year-old Shad Hadid has never quite fit in. The other kids at school don’t understand him, so he spends most of his time alone, cooking for his teta and daydreaming of opening his own Arabic bakery full of tasty treats. But when Shad is attacked by a shadowy monster, he learns his late baba was an alchemist with the ability to mix charms, elixirs, and mists—and he’s one too.
Then Shad receives an invitation to the mysterious Alexandria Academy, a fabled school for alchemists, where he hopes he’ll find safety and learn more about the ancient science. But when he arrives, no one at the school seems to know what alchemy is. As Shad digs deeper into the mystery, he discovers a sinister evil lurking in the shadows, and only he holds the key to stopping—or fulfilling—their plans. With danger at every turn and the fate of the alchemy world on the line, can Shad save his friends and defeat this sinister foe?
With sweeping stakes and action-packed adventure, George Jreije has created the perfect recipe for magical fun in this hilarious and charming middle grade debut.
Now onto the interview!
1. What inspires your work?
My work draws inspiration from a variety of places. My upcoming fantasy novel, SHAD HADID AND THE ALCHEMISTS OF ALEXANDRIA, bears a heavy dose of Arab influence through the food, culture, and even the connection between alchemy and middle eastern history. Additionally, a part of my process is to determine what I want to say with each book, and many of the themes and lessons in my story are influenced by Buddhist philosophy or the clash between modernism and tradition!
2. Advice for new writers?
Learn to understand character motivations. Each main character must have an inner motivation they need, which is separate from what they want per the plot. It’s a crucial lesson they must learn or a flawed worldview that has to change. Being able to write compelling characters is the key to hooking readers!
3. Goals for next year?
My main goal for next year is to enjoy the journey, but also to work on a secret, career-changing project I recently sold to a publisher. I believe that it’s going to excite a lot of readers across mediums.
4. What are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m in the midst of the sequel to my debut novel, which has been such a pleasure. I’m really put my all into making this next book stand on its own, and introduce readers to much more of my book universe’s World of Alchemy.
5. Biggest success story?
My ability to accept and love myself following my alopecia diagnosis is one thing I take great pride in. I lost all of my hair to the condition in a relatively short amount of time, and it required a total recalibration of my values and perspective to come to terms with this change. These kinds of forced mental shifts re going to be a big theme in my writing, and one I believe that readers will enjoy and be challenged by.
6. Where can people support your work?
Please head to your local bookstore’s website and pre-order my debut fantasy novel, SHAD HADID AND THE ALCHEMISTS OF ALEXANDRIA! It would go a long way to launching my career, and if you get the book from either BOOKS OF WONDER or LEFT BANK BOOKS, it will come signed with exclusive bookmarks and a sticker. Fans of PERCY JACKSON will love it!