Alec Lavictoire publishes debut YA novel The Black Cup

September 8, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Paula Brown

Orphaned heroes, witches, and kings – they’re some of the classic foundations of a lasting fairy tale. 

They are also part of the foundations for Orangeville resident Alec Lavictoire’s debut young adult novel, The Black Cup.

Set in the common fairy tale era of the Middle Ages, The Black Cup tells the story of twelve-year old Max, a boy who was born with his heart outside of his ribcage. Abandoned by his father, the King, at birth, Max is raised by a kind witch, who has also known a life of being different from others, and does all she can to protect him from the outside world. Max’s father, after abandoning his son is gifted the Black Cup, which possesses evil powers, by a strange figure. Learning his son is still alive and could challenge his ruling as King, Max’s father orders for his death, and Max sets out on a journey to prevent further destruction of the Kingdom and its people – an adventure that will change the world and lives Max, the witch, and the King have known. 

Lavictoire began writing The Black Cup five years ago, writing part-time during evenings and weekends, with the initial idea of creating a memorable book that would encourage kids to read. 

“My ultimate goal was to get kids into reading and from my personal experience you need to find that one book that will trigger you to want to find that reading experience over and over again,” said Lavictoire. “If this book can serve that purpose, that’s great, I wanted to put it out there as something that could get a kid hooked on reading” 

To find that hook Lavictoire said he began thinking of classic fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel, and why they resonate with some readers centuries after they have been written. Coming across the book The Uses of Enchantment, written by Bruno Bettelhiem, that studies the psychology of fairy tales, Lavictoire started using it as a resource in creating his own fairy tale. 

“I was seeing things that would work in my story, just make it that much more vivid and have that staying power with the reader,” said Lavictoire. 

In touching on the classic story lines of witches, kings, dark forests, and heroes that save kingdoms that are found in fairy tales, Lavictoire’s novel also explores topics such as alcoholism, freewill and abandonment through metaphors.

“The reason I went into [writing] fairy tales is more around the metaphors that they present,” said Lavictoire. “For younger readers they see the adventure, the mystery but for older readers it’s more about the metaphors for what these different elements stand for.” 

While Lavictoire has written to create a fairy tale tome that sticks with readers, the inspiration for the main character of Max, comes from his two sons that he dedicates the novel to.

“As I was writing it, my boys were around that age,” said Lavictoire. “I could look at them and see how they looked at the world, how they reacted to certain things and how they moved.” 

Having written previous stories, Lavictoire said that none of them felt the way The Black Cup did and the one thing he wants young readers to take away for the story and Max?

“The story is about showing readers that it doesn’t matter who you are, you do have an impact on the world and life around you.” 

The Black Cup, published through Intense Publications, can be purchased at Booklore in Orangeville as well as through Lavictoire’s website 

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