Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Alexandria Rizik Interview - 21 Questions

Photo Content from Alexandria Rizik

Alexandria Rizik is an award-winning filmmaker and the author of three books, the poetry collection Words Written in the Dark, a children's book Chocolate Milk, and her recent release and debut novel 21 Questions.

She was born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she was brought up by a large Armenian family. She received her bachelor of arts in English literature from Arizona State University.

Alexandria's love for writing began when she was a young child: her aunt bought her a journal and told her to write a story in it, and the rest is history. Her favorite part about writing is being able to write the happily every after that doesn't always happen in real life.

Besides writing, Alexandria loves yoga, wine, and family time.


Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
My most rewarding experience since being published is probably the fact that Simone Elkeles is going to be the conversation partner for my virtual book release. It’s like a teenage dream come true. She’s an author I’ve always loved and looked up to. I remember my friends and I all read her Perfect Chemistry series when we were 15. It feels like such an accomplishment that she even knows my novel exists.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us? 
I’m currently working on the sequel to 21 Questions, titled 21 Confessions. I’m also working on another novel Mi Amor and just finished a screenplay Cigarettes & Other Toxic Loves.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us? 
Storytelling is important because it’s what our world is built on. Think about all the plays and epics that are a piece of our history. Books, plays, and stories overall are a time capsule to the different periods and gives us insight into that era. The Bible is a perfect example.

Can you tell us when you started 21 QUESTIONS, how that came about? 
21 Questions is the result of my first heartbreak at 17. The only way I was able to get through was by writing. My ex-boyfriend’s family was very private and reserved. Being a writer with such a vivid imagination, I concocted this story in my head that they were drug dealers and in hindsight I sound crazy but it made for a good storyline.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
I hope readers can relate to this story. At its core, it is a story of firsts—first loves, first heartbreaks, first failures. I think when people — of any age — read 21 Questions, they’re going to say, “Wow, I feel that. I’ve been there.”

What part of Kendra and Brock did you enjoy writing the most? 
I loved writing Kendra’s internal thoughts, especially when she was dealing with anxiety because that’s something so personal that I relate to and writing about it felt therapeutic. I also enjoyed writing Brock’s internal thoughts and watching this punk of a teenager surrender to his feelings for Kendra.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
Oh my gosh, I love this question. If I could introduce any character from 21 Questions to any character from another book, I’d introduce Kendra to Brittany from Perfect Chemistry and they could vent to each other about their boy problems because bad boys are their vice.

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood. 
I have so many great memories as a kid. I grew up around my whole family, we all still live within a half-mile radius of each other. I don’t think I have one specific favorite memory or event, but just an overall gratitude for my childhood as a whole.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? 
Read 21 Questions. Hehe.

Best date you've ever had? 
This is a hard one, but to be honest the best dates I’ve been on are with my sisters. There’s nothing better than a sister date, you can pig out without worrying about making a mess. I can’t even describe what these dates turn into, but they’re always an adventure. One of our most recent dates was when the four of us went out to celebrate my youngest sister’s single release (she’s a singer). We were in LA and went out to one of our favorite wine bars. We ran into my sister’s ex-boyfriend on a date and at the same time a fairly well-known actor (I won’t use names), struck up a conversation with us. It was the perfect timing to run into an ex. The actor invited us to a party so my sisters and I went. It was a wild night that ended in greasy pizza at two in the morning.

What was the first job you had? 
The first job I ever had was at Armani Exchange. I was fired after one shift because they found out I was seventeen and I had to be eighteen to work there. I don’t think retail was really for me anyway…I barely fold my own clothes.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today? 
I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say the death of a close person in your life changes you, even more so when it’s by suicide. I have a friend who took his own life a few years ago and it just completely altered my way of thinking. He was the happiest guy, at least externally he was, but on the inside he was fighting a battle that most people knew nothing about. It’s events like that that really alter your perspective.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be? 
If I could trade places with any other person for a week, it would be Hailey Bieber because I’d love to be married to Justin Bieber for a day.

First Heartbreak? 
My first heartbreak was at seventeen and served as the inspiration behind 21 Questions. It felt treacherous at the time, but in hindsight it’s those kinds of things that are actually so trivial.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go? 
I love where I’m at right now. There’s no point I would go back to. Like fine wine, I’m getting better with age. Wiser.

  • 1. “Brock Parker tasted a lot like cigarette and trouble, but he smelled more like ocean and forever.”
  • 2. “Maybe the rain is a sign from the universe showing us that even during the dreariest of times, there’s growth. Flowers bloom from it, grass grows from it. The world needs dreary moments to survive too.”
  • 3. “Our eyes met like the sun meets the moon for a short period of time and forms an eclipse—it was that kind of stare. But just like the best things in life, it didn’t last forever.”
  • 4. “Maybe some addictions came in the form of passions or even other people.”
  • 5. “Because it was the kind of love that we seemed to fall for like the stars fall in the sky fall for the earth, leaving us with wishes.”
  • 6. “I like you drunk and sober. And when I’m drunk. And when I’m sober.”
  • 7. “I was one to believe that people’s hearts were made up of different things. My father had a heart made of dust; it felt nothing and did nothing, only made up of a past that he let die inside of him. I felt like my heart was made of fire; although it kept me warm most of the time, it seemed to burn my soul once in a while. Kendra’s—Kendra’s heart was made up of something like flowers that lived to please others with their scent and provide oxygen with their existence. It was one of those hearts.”
  • 8. “I think that is the most frightening part about an addict. They would do just about anything to maintain that high. Anything. Even die.”
  • 9. “I breathed–inhaling and holding. Exhaling and holding. Catching my breath. It made me think of Kendra. What do you do then? When something as necessary as breathing reminded you of a person?”
  • 10. “Unlike most, I like the rain. I like the smell of it, the feel of it, the way it comes with this sort of nostalgic feeling—although it isn’t attached to any certain memory. Maybe just a plethora of special ones.”
Deleted Scene from 21 QUESTIONS
Honestly, the story has evolved so much from the first draft. But one scene I deleted that comes to mind is the Homecoming football game. Originally, the Homecoming game was a bigger scene where Brock was doing a drug deal and at Halftime Jason sang to Kendra on the field to ask her to the homecoming dance. Out of nerves, she vomited in front of everyone and that was Brock’s first impression of her. I got rid of the scene for a couple of reasons. I had an editor who told me to only have one scene where Kendra throws up, so I kept the one when she was drunk after the party Brock took her to. I also felt that there was too much between Jason and Kendra that was deflecting from Kendra’s and Brock’s relationship.

In Laguna Beach, California, sixteen-year-old Kendra Dimes is preparing for the 2010 USA Surfing Prime West. She’ll be competing this year in honor of her brother, who was a surfer too, but who died from a drug overdose. Kendra has suffered anxiety attacks ever since her brother’s death, and surfing is what’s been helping her heal.

Brock Parker is the new bad boy at school; he deals drugs to the high school clientele for his parents, who work for a Mexican drug lord. Though Brock and Kendra come from two different worlds, sparks fly when they meet at the homecoming dance—their attraction is magnetic. When they start a game of 21 Questions one night, they begin to learn more about each other—and, surprisingly, about themselves too. But some questions aren’t answered with the whole truth; after all, Brock can’t tell Kendra what his parents do for a living.

As Kendra and Brock experience all of life’s most exciting firsts, they prove that even when life throws you the perfect storm, you can make it through and come out stronger than before. 21 Questions is a coming-of-age journey packed with passion and heartbreak, risk and romance.

You can purchase 21 Questions at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ALEXANDRIA RIZIK for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of 21 Questions by Alexandria Rizik.