Of What is Red? More like, Of What is STUNNING, Diana Regolizio!
You can find more on author Diana Regolizio down below my book tease!
Book Rating: 5 Crowns!
This book enchanted me better than any magic could!
Diana Regolizio is not only a master of worldbuilding, but within it she creates a poignant, realistic romance between the two romantic leads, Lily and Rowan. She immediately puts you into a resplendant palace centering on Lily, and her father.
It is the day of her wedding to the Ivory Prince, and as well her coronation.
Yet, there is of course a twist.
Not only is she not happy about her betrothal or her wedding, but right after both her and the Ivory Prince say 'I do' and she becomes the Ivory Princess, she has to scarifice herself to help her people return to the fabled Ivory Kingdom.
I would drink a ‘transportation potion’ and my body, here on earth, would die. Or ‘I’ would die. Depending on one’s point of view....
...I didn’t want to be brave.
Regolizio Chapter 1: Feed Me Poison
In order to help her people rejoin their rightful kingdom, she has to die.
I haven't read a book where the main character dies so early on in, but I am so glad I picked up this one.
Everything about her death is planned, the poison, even dyeing her blond hair red, to be even more enticing to the Crimson Prince.
Regolizio's description of her death had me grinning because while most books would have the beautiful main character have an equally 'pretty' death, Regolizio does the unexpected.
I didn’t pass on peacefully and gradually in the decorative casket in the parlor. I made an ugly surprised face as I tried to breathe. Nothing about this was graceful.
Regolizio Chapter 1: Feed Me Poison
Regolizio's word choices and descriptions of events are just enough to give you an accurate impression of scenery, characters, and emotions without overwhelming the reader and slowing down the story.
Not an easy feat.
However, she doesn't just write descriptions well. She is also a creative worldbuilder, and soon the story takes us from the real world, to a mythic 'afterlife' called the Crimson Kingdom.
This is on purpose because Lily must find the Crimson Prince and convince him to marry her in exchange to transport her family and friends from the real world to their beloved Ivory Kingdom.
I stopped walking and screamed long and hard, and kept screaming. I couldn’t place any specific emotion to it. Horror, anguish, rage, grief, rage again –
Regolizio Chapter 2: Dye My Hair
Yet, as the quote above describes, her journey to the Crimson Prince is not one paved in gold. Not only does she deceive him from the start with dyeing her hair red and taking on a fake name, Scarlet, she forgets to even bow.
The place in the afterlife she finds herself in, called Night, drives people mad.
This madness causes her to make a rather lackluster first impression on the Crimson Prince who, unlike so many romance novels, does NOT have an instant fascination or obessesion with the main character.
He watched me, awaiting some sort of response, but I had nothing. “Hm,” he muttered, never breaking eye contact. “And no sense to bow. That’s bad. Night got to you.”
Regolizio Chapter 2: Dye My Hair
For someone who just became a princess to forget to bow to a prince she is trying to win over, Night indeed made her lose some of her senses, but she is far more lucky than others.
One man even attacked the Rowan the Crimson Prince when the prince tried to help him.
“Why did you attack me?” Rowan whispered. “You could’ve come back with us.”
I never anticipated meeting a King that cared.
Regolizio Chapter 3: Paint it Red
This shows important insight into Lily's character. As for her entire life, her father and other royals have used her for their own gain and personal ambition.
In fact, this comes back to haunt her, quite literally.
A ghost called a Gripper wreaks havoc through a small village in the appearance of the Ivory Prince and her father combined! This Gripper even reveals that Lily isn't 'Scarlet' who she introduced herself Rowan as.
This is especially frightening to Lily since Rowan caught on that she may be hiding important secrets from him, like her real name and how she came to be in the Land of Night in the first place.
But Lily doesn't fold like a wet tissue. She stands up for herself.
I knew it wasn’t really him, but I didn’t care – it felt too good to say it, to scream at him. “I do not exist to make you feel better!”
Regolizio Chapter 6: Is Fortold
Yet what really shines is the interactions between Lily and Rowan.
The way that Lily laughs at Rowan when he entertains her and others at dinner is realistic and pulls me into the book even more.
The nervous urge to smile wider had me struggle to keep food in my mouth, so i held my hand over my lips and turns away as a precaution, laughing through my nose as I tried to stop.
Regolizio Chapter 4: Bright Blood-Red
Addtionally, the considerate way that Rowan addresses her feelings when villagers tell her that a woman with red-hair and a red-name is fated to be with the Prince is heartwarming.
“I don’t want you to think I expect anything from you just because you’re a red-named red-haired woman I found in the sands. I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable around me.” [Rowan said]
Regolizio Chapter 5: The Crimson King
I cannot gush enough about the grounded, heartfelt interactions between Lily and Rowan enough. Regolizio doesn't write anything forced or out-of-pocket.
Regolizio's fantasy worldbuilding is unparalleled and I find myself not only wanting to learn more about the world that Lily and Rowan are about to explore together, but about how they can possibly be together since Lily wasn't truthful from the start.
It also makes me wonder if she will go through with her mission to save her family, friends, and people to bring them all to the Ivory Kingdom.
What if it is all a trick?
What if Rowan catches on that he is just being used for this purpose?
Oh all the QUESTIONS I have!!!
How will Lily be able to choose her own path and her own love, if she is still beholden to her family?
Now, let's see how Diana Regolizio views writing and her own works!
Exclusive Author Interview with Diana Regolizio:
I had another exciting and humbling opportunity to ask fellow indie author, Diana, the following questions about her book, her inspirations, and of course, herself!
1) Which part of your book was the most fun to write?
Any scene with Rowan the Crimson King (the male lead) is fun to write. He’s an intentionally odd and shameless character. I didn’t want him to be like the majority of other male leads, stoic and protective and inexplicably obsessed with the female lead. I also really enjoy writing any trippy scenes, which happens a lot in the Land of Night which drives people mad the longer they’re in it. I think my favorite scene to write is a tie between two.
1) When we first meet Rowan. He’s been driving through the Land of Night, so his eyes are wide and intense with madness. He spills out of a short bus in the desert, walking like a human Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the first thing he says to the main character when he comes up to save her from the elements is, “…I like your hair.”
2) When Lily, the main character, purposefully gets herself lost in the Land of Night and ends up in a trippy loop of entering her sister’s room and joining her for tea over and over again, with slight, creepy changes every time.
2) What do you find is the most difficult part of being an indie author?
As an indie author it’s extremely difficult to get noticed. Self publishing is super easy these days, with the different platforms enabling writers to do it for free. Readers see published works now with a wide range of quality, and they’ve likely been let down by a work with a good cover and a good hook before, so it takes more convincing for them to try a new work from a new author.
3) What piece of advice do you have for indie authors looking to either self-publish or to try to strike out on their own?
I’m still trying to figure out what works so I’m not sure if I’m in the best position to give advice haha. But I am getting more recognized as a good writer within my personal network, so I’m seeing more opportunities come my way.
So the advice I’ll give is to keep writing, keep putting your work out there, keep requesting feedback, keep getting better, and stop letting the wrong people tell you what “show don’t tell” means.
It doesn’t mean to spend more words describing a cloudy day, it means to to write the scene in a way that engages the senses, as opposed to summarizing a scene.
Also, stop using the word “cause.” “The punch caused him to yell,” versus, “Dude punched him and he yelled.” “The rain caused him to feel sad,” versus, “The rain saddened him.” I’ll also say a writer doesn’t need to master all aspects of writing.
I still don’t know the difference between how to use “affect” and “effect” in a sentence. Just do your best and pay an editor to fix the rest
About the Author:
Diana Regolizio completed her first urban fantasy novel in 2004. At 400 pages long, it was a noteworthy accomplishment for an 11-year-old that will hopefully never become available to the public eye.
Having left her home in Newton, New Jersey to pursue her passion for storytelling, Regolizio earned her Bachelors Degree in Dramatic Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where her focus temporarily shifted from novels to screenplays.
Her Cinderella-verse feature length script, IF THE SHOE FITS, made her a finalist in the ScreenCraft True Story & Public Domain Competition and her teen vampire pilot script, FORGIVE THE MONSTER, saw some recognition in their TV pilot competition.
With so many stories to write and worlds to explore, Regolizio will continue to pursue her different passions in waves. When she isn’t in her own world, she’s dancing with her hippie friends, working on a new dating app, or taking color pencil commissions for people who want to be drawn as their favorite anime character.
Thank you for reading, and as always embrace the Paper Hurricane!