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Write On Ottawa: New, fast-paced fantasy series is filled with vampires, fire and gangsters

By Alejandro Bustos on November 8, 2013

Sixteen-year-old Alex Winters can create fire with his thoughts.  Using his pyrokinetic powers he gained control of the rough Russian district, and in the process became “boss” to gangsters and thugs, many of whom were older than him.

When a cruel and deadly group of vampires invades his turf, however, Alex must face an enemy whose power is stronger than his supernatural abilities.  In the midst of this struggle, he has to look out for a group of young people that he saved and who now live with him.

This fantastical setting forms the basis of Blood Relations, the first book in a five-part fantasy series by Gatineau-based writer Caroline Fréchette.  Published by Renaissance Press, the book is an action packed adventure that will appeal to fans of fantasy, vampire stories and science fiction.

Readers can meet Fréchette in person on Saturday, November 23, when she will be joining 19 other local authors and one local comic book publisher for a book sale at the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library.  The event is part of Support Local month.

Blood RelationsThe focus of Blood Relations is Alex, a complex character who is moody, quick tempered and full of himself.  But while he is “incredibly immature,” to quote Fréchette, he also has a strong moral code, as well as a sense of responsibility well beyond his years, as shown by his commitment to protect the group of young people that he saved.

“Alex had to grow up really fast.  He ran away at 13 because he had a lot of issues that he had to deal with,” says Fréchette, who has been teaching creative writing since 2005.  “When you grew up really fast, there are parts of you that don’t grow up.”

Readers should be warned, however, not to take everything that Alex says at face value. “I like a character who lies to himself and to the reader,” admits Fréchette, who also works at the Ottawa Public Library.

She then adds:  “A lot of what happens to the characters that is important is what is not said.”  This is particularly true with the group of young people under Alex’s care, who were saved in unclear but apparently highly dramatic circumstances.

Originally from Montreal, Fréchette has been living in the National Capital Region for the past nine years.  A sequential artist and author, she has published several short stories and two graphic novels in French.  Her fantasy series, however, as well as her blogging, are in English.

“Writing fiction has been very English for me,” she tells me.

While in high school in Montreal, Fréchette had an English teacher who encouraged her to write. After writing numerous drafts for her teacher to review, she became used to writing fiction in the language of Shakespeare.

Looking forward, fans of the series – and I suspect there will be many – will not have to wait for long to read the other books.  Part two should be released next spring, while the third book should come out in the fall of 2014.  The fourth volume is tentatively set to come out in 2015.