11 Questions For The 21 Questions Author: Alexandria Rose Rizik

A Debut Author Gets Real About Where She Gets Inspiration From
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11 Questions For The 21 Questions Author: Alexandria Rose Rizik

11 Questions For The 21 Questions Author: Alexandria Rose Rizik

Debut author, Alexandria Rose Rizik has exploded onto the scene with a YA contemporary that is jam-packed with passion, romance, and heartache that certainly brings on the heat. 21 Questions is a book for anyone looking for their next good girl/bad guy obsession because Kendra and Brock are about to fuel your heart while breaking it at the same time, and lucky for everyone, the book will be released on August 3rd, 2021! I had the pleasure of asking Rizik some questions in an author interview where we get to know the writer behind this heartfelt story. Rizik didn’t hold back with answering these questions and the transparency behind her inspiration is something that all writers can learn from. 

Here’s what she shared with us:

1. What inspired you to write 21 Questions?

21 Questions was inspired by my first real relationship and the heartbreak that followed. Writing was therapeutic for me and gave purpose to everything that I went through. I took all of my experiences and “firsts” in that relationship and fictionalized them into this novel. I think everyone can relate to the feeling of a first love. To quote Sheryl Crow, the “first cut is the deepest.”

2. When did you know you wanted to become a writer? 

I’ve known I was going to be a writer since I was four years old. My aunt, who is also a writer, bought me a journal and told me to write her a story and the rest is history. 

3. Were any of the events in 21 Questions based on your own experiences? 

YES. The relationship itself was inspired by my first boyfriend. This sounds nuts but, long story short, his family was different (and I’m a writer with a vivid imagination) so I concocted this story in my head that they were drug dealers and that’s where the plot of 21 Questions stems from. I guess it’s true…if a writer falls in love with you, you can never die. But a lot of the scenes, like the haunted house scene, homecoming dance, ditching the movies, and the drive-in theatre  are all based on real events (again, obviously fictionalized to an extent). 

4. What inspired you to write a main character who is a strong surfer girl like Kendra?

 My mom raised my sisters and me to be such strong women. I felt like writing Kendra’s character in that same way was natural, like a reflex. In my eyes women are strong. All women. Because that’s all I’ve seen and all I know. My characters will always reflect that. 

5. Were there any books that you drew inspiration from for 21 Questions?

 There weren’t any books that I specifically drew inspiration from. This was my own story. I drew inspiration from personal experiences. But I would say the whole “bad boy/good girl” concept that I’ve always enjoyed reading in books like The Perfect Chemistry series and other Simone Elkeles novels definitely had an influence on  what I like to write about (and maybe the kind of guys I like to date—uh-oh). 

6. If you had to compare Kendra and Brock to any other fictional characters, who would they be? 

If I had to compare Kendra and Brock to any other fictional characters, it would probably be Tessa and Hardin from After. I think they’re similar in the way that Hardin corrupts Tessa and there is this naivety or innocence that she sheds once she starts hanging out with him. 

7. What kind of books are on your bookshelf?

 I love YA romance. I feel like it’s hard to find them these days. I also love women’s fiction, contemporary romance, poetry, and some fantasy. I have to say my favourite book of all time (that I’m staring at on my bookshelf right now) is Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman. Beautifully told. Such poetic language. What a story. 

8. Who are some of your favourite authors? 

Some of my favourite authors are Simone Elkeles, John Green, Jennifer Millikin, Sarah Dessen, Stephenie Meyer, Nicole Fiorina, Maggie Stiefvater, Alyson Noel, the list goes on. Some of my favourite oldies are F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jane Austen (especially her novel Persuasion).

9. What does a typical day for you look like? 

On a typical day, I wake up around six or seven in the morning and usually do my rosary. Then I go to a Pilates class. I can’t function without my morning Americano. Then I spend my day working—either writing, studying, and/or business emails and calls for my wine company. By evening, I’m usually ready for a glass of wine (or three). But every day is different. I’m not a very structured person. 

10. Tell me about some of your other projects? 

I’m currently working on the sequel to 21 Questions, titled 21 Confessions. Besides writing, I’m also in Law School and just launched my own wine called Poetry in a Bottle. I keep busy, to say the least. 

11. 21 Questions deals with a lot of sensitive issues like trauma, loss, drug addiction, and mental health. What advice would you have for readers who might also be struggling with these issues?

For anyone who is struggling with issues similar to the issues discussed in 21 Questions, my best advice for you is to seek help. Never feel embarrassed or ashamed for what you’re going through because whether you realize it or not, everyone around you is going through something. Whether you find relief in therapy, rehab, yoga, or even just talking to a friend or hotline, do something to help yourself. I feel like guilt weighs people down, especially with issues like addiction, and that’s not how you should feel. We all go through things but it’s how we pull ourselves out of them that matters. And if you have a friend or loved one going through something like addiction, I know how frustrating it can be when you want to help them and they aren’t ready. But all you can do is love them and when they’re ready for  help, be there. 

Interested in hosting a BooknBrunch Book Club with 21 Questions by Alexandria Rose Rizik? Learn more by clicking here

Brittany Amalfi

Brittany Amalfi is a 20- something- year- old developmental specialist living in Massachusetts where she loves all things New England. Brittany is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing, and working on her young adult fantasy novel. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, working with awesome kiddos, and spending time with friends and family.

Favourite book: I can only choose one? Shadow and Bone by Leigh bardugo
                                 Favourite brunch spot: Primavera

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