Sunday, October 1, 2017

Mercedes Lackey: Hunter

In the first in a new series, well known author Mercedes Lackey takes the reader on the journey of a young hunter who travel from her small town in the mountains to the big city to help against the fight with the Othersiders:

After the Diseray happened Monsters appeared. The ones from your nightmares and some you have never heard of before. The people are forced to live in Cities (Cits) with high walls and the protection of the Hunters. Joyeaux Charmand (Joy) who has been a hunter since she was a child in her mountain village has been summoned to the Capitol, Apex City,  to work as the newest Hunter. Apex is where the best Hunters are located but the job is much more than Joy thought it would be. Hunting the monsters is one thing, but there are even more dangers within the city which means she always has to watch her back. Someone does not want Joy in the city and will do anything to make sure Joy is gone permanently.

Really enjoyed this book, I know I have read Lackey before but it was a long time ago and I'm thinking it was during my romance phase (yes I had one of those when I first started reading). Lackey was able to blend some of the notions that we have now, like our obsession with celebrities and needing to know everything they are doing, with a fantasy and technology based world. This book is also fast pace. Lackey waste no time throwing Joy in to battle and it never seems to let up. Even when she is in the Capitol where she should be safe she knows that all is not right and she needs to keep her guard up. This book really does go from hunt to hunt and with all the different creature that Lackey has Joy face I did not want to put this book down.

Joy is a fantastic character and lead for this series. She is a kick-ass as a hunter who is humble but naive and almost shy when she first enters the Capitol. Really good personality, she is wise beyond her years in certain areas. I loved that she brought her small town knowledge to the big city and showed the hotshots that there way of doing thing aka showing off was not always the best way to get it done.

One of the most interesting and inventive aspects in this book for me was the Hounds. When an individual becomes a hunter they are able to summon a set of hounds from the Otherside and they fight side by side. Hounds is a term that is used loosely as they take on many shapes, sizes, forms as well as extras, like wings thrown in. In the case of Joy she treats her hounds as equals. One more thing that makes me like Joy more as a character. Honestly, I think she will become one of my favourite female characters in a series, if Lackey keeps her along this path.

World building was well done I felt like I had a good grasp on what lackey had set up and that she did not overwhelm me with too many details. As the book is told from Joys POV we get her feelings and emotions that she has when she first enters the Capitol and learns all about what is expected of her as a Hunter. I do hope there was more information about the Folk, as they were introduced right at the beginning of the book as these feared creatures but then that aspect was never really explored further. I also would like more information about the Diseray. This was a major world shaping aspect, basically made the world what it was now, but why it happened is never really explained so I hope that happens sometime in this trilogy as well.

I liked that there romance idea was a real subplot as Joy was very busy doing what she was brought to the Capitol for to be a hunter not to go one dates :) I also appreciated as this is a YA read that there was not love triangle in site.

I think this was a well done YA novel and it was nice to have a heroine who was not overly concerned about her popularity or what a guy thinks about her (most of the time, she is human after all). Great start to a series and I am very excited to read the next book in this series and see if Lackey can top this one.

Enjoy!!
If You Like This,
Check These Out Too: 
http://j9books.blogspot.ca/2010/10/amanda-downum-drowning-city.html  http://j9books.blogspot.ca/2017/05/sj-kincaid-diabolic.html  http://j9books.blogspot.ca/2015/12/aimee-hyndman-hour-of-mischief.html

Friday, September 22, 2017

Interview & Giveaway: Wendy Walker

Wend Walker was a late find for me this year, but her novel All is Not Forgotten is one of the most memorable I have read in a long time and to top it off it was her debut to the thriller genre is simple outstanding. Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:


Wendy Walker


From Chicken Soup for the Soul to women’s fiction to psychological thriller, how did you get from point A to point B? Why the psychological thriller genre?
I have been on a very long journey as a writer! My first attempt at a novel was actually a legal thriller. That one took me six years to write and revise because I was having my babies! But it eventually got me an agent and from there, I started writing women’s fiction because I became fascinated with suburban culture and the issues that were all around me as a stay-home mother. I wrote two novels in this genre, and then was approached by Chicken Soup for The Soul to edit an edition for their series. I went on to edit two more books for them and it was a great way to make some money as a writer and hone my editing and writing skills. 

However, I was a single mom by then, needing to forge a career for myself that would sustain me in the future, so I went back to practicing law. I also wrote two screenplays and another women’s fiction novel while I was practicing law again. After five years, I found a new agent who gave me the life-changing advice to try my hand at a psychological thriller. She thought it was something that would fit with my skill set and she was right! I took about two months off from my fledgling solo law practice and wrote All Is Not Forgotten. That novel enabled me to write full time – after seventeen years since I wrote my first page.

You recently released your second psychological thriller novel, Emma in the Night, what did you learn from about yourself and writing between the two novels?
There wasn’t much time in between, but I did learn quite a lot! With the help of my agent and editor, I was able to glean what readers liked about my writing and work and what could be better. Writing Emma In The Night took a lot longer than All Is Not Forgotten because I was growing as a writer and trying to be better with each draft. Luckily, I had new access to professionals to advise me in the psychological areas of narcissism and family dynamics, and also FBI forensics. I hope I can get better with each novel. That is surely the goal as an author – and every professional, really. 

How do you believe your now two books (All is not Forgotten & Emma in the Night) stand out from the rest of the novels in this genre?
I think I bring a focus on real world psychological issues and illnesses because of my background as a family law attorney. The training I received there, and the experiences with families in crisis, gave me enough knowledge to know what might make an interesting plot. From there, I do a lot of research and try to include very specific and realistic aspects to the characters who are impacted by the psychological
issues at the core of each novel. Readers seem to be enjoying this aspect of my work so I hope to continue along this path and carve out a niche in a genre that includes some incredibly talented authors.

If there was one author you could co-write a novel with (they can be alive or dead) who would you choose and why?
That’s a tough question! I adore Jane Austen. I don’t know what kind of book we would write together, but she had the ability to capture the essence of both people and the cultures that shaped and confined them and I find that fascinating. Most of my work has elements of the cultural constraints on the characters, if only as a backdrop to the plot. By linking people to their environment, Austen was able to help the reader understand their motives, even if they were nefarious. No character was all good or all bad – and they were always relatable. I think that every novel has to have that element at its core. If the reader doesn’t care about the characters, not even the most thrilling plot will keep them engaged.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
For me, an abstract literary novel would be a challenge. I like to write in first person or close third person and focus on the inner thoughts of each character. Being inside a person’s head is where I am most comfortable. If you asked me to describe a physical landscape in a unique way, I would probably run in the opposite direction! That is not where my interests lie. My strongest skills are in my ability to weave intricate plots (from being an attorney) and also to tie together the psychology behind characters and motivations. The latter skill comes from my work in family law, but also a lifelong fascination with people and psychology. 

I personally love the point of view you decided to have in All is not Forgotten, why did you decide to have the story told solely from psychiatrist Dr. Alan Forrester point of view?
I had to have a narrator who would be privy to everyone else’s secrets and emotions. The psychiatrist was the perfect solution. From there, I decided to use the actual words of the other characters in italics, rather than leaving the entire book in the voice of the narrator. This tool enabled me to give a voice to each character, but to allow the narrator to drive the plot. Once I got inside Dr. Forrester’s head, it was incredibly easy to write the novel. I knew what each chapter had to contain and reveal, and I knew exactly how my narrator would reveal it. I doubt I will ever find as much ease writing a novel as I did with this one. It was a unique coming together of plot and voice.

How much research did you do in regards to not only PTSD and the medical science around the possibility of a drug to make someone forget a memory but all the psychiatric techniques that Alan uses on Jenny?
I did a lot of research! I read everything I could find on line – which was extensive. I started with articles intended for the general public, and then I went into the scientific articles written for that community. I read blogs and other chat sites for people suffering from PTSD, and also survivors of sexual assault. From there, I found a scientist working on memory experimentation and a therapist who has experience with trauma treatment. I had every passage of the manuscript read and vetted by an appropriate professional. I wanted to get it right!

This book had me questioning myself several times while reading your book that given the same information that the characters had would I make the same or different decision. So I have to think that while writing this book you also asked yourself the same questions. Therefore, if you could help a loved one forget a horrible moment in their life would you?
Yes – that is the question at the heart of the book and what I wanted readers to ponder. I don’t think I would ever choose to erase a factual memory, for me or a loved one. There is just not enough research on how this impacts our emotional memory. However, there are amazing treatments which target emotional memory, altering them to be less powerful, and I would definitely seek out that type of treatment for myself or a loved one.

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share? Maybe some up dated information about Reese Witherspoon’s interest in All is not Forgotten :) as well as some additional information about Emma in the Night.
There are many updates! The movie for All Is Not Forgotten continues to move forward. Reese Witherspoon’s production company is still attached and involved and actively pursuing the production of the film. Emma In The Night is out in the world and doing great. We are pursuing interests in Hollywood for that novel as well. I am working on my third novel and hope to have that out next summer. I have many appearances scheduled for the fall and they are all listed on my website at wendywalkerbooks.com.

What is one book (other than one of your own) that you think should be a must read for everyone?
Not to dodge the question, but I’m not a fan of must reads. I think that books and genres are very personal. For me, Mystic River is one of the best suspense novels I have ever read. It is incredibly deep psychologically and does an amazing job of tracing childhood trauma to adulthood. I loved the Kite Runner for the same reason. Those are just a couple of my favorites. If I had to choose just one book for everyone to read, it would have to be The Lord of the Flies. That novel raises questions about human nature in a way that is brilliant and relatable, and those questions are ones that can help us understand ourselves, others and the world at large.

 I want to thank Wendy once again for taking the time to answer these questions especially since I was asking right before this event was to start. Wendy it truly an author to watch out for and I cannot wait to read Emma in the Night (I have it on my Kindle already). Wendy has very nicely supplied a giveaway to go with her interview, so see the rafflecopter link below to enter :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Interview & Giveaway: A. M. Justice

I will admit that I do not read a lot of High Fantasy or strictly Sci-Fi ones either, but somehow Justice was able to combine both in her novel A Wizard's Forge. Justice book (and series I bet) is very world and character driven and you would be hard pressed to find a more real and strong character than Vic. Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:

A. M. Justice

Who is A. M. Justice? What led you to writing not only a novel but a series?
I’m a born nerd with eclectic interests that range from dance to scuba to the outdoors to all things science-related, including science fiction and fantasy. Most of my favorite books, films, and TV shows fall into the SF/F genre. Even within that genre, however, I prefer stories, films, and shows that present the fantastical in a realistic way—showing the dirt under the fingernails, if you will. 


The Woern Saga has been in development for a long time (in fact, I wrote the original source story for A Wizard’s Forge when I was a teenager, back in the last century). I turned it into a series because I love the characters so much, and as I aged, I had new ideas for their adventures.

things I admire and aspire to do in my own work.

It has been exactly one year since A Wizard’s Forge was released. How has your year been?
It’s been an emotional rollercoaster! It’s thrilling and terrifying to release your work on the world and see how people react, whether that’s through your sales or reviews. My goal is to keep building a fan base and momentum so when the next book in the series comes out, it’ll make a big splash (I hope!).

A Wizard’s Forge is a mixture of the science fiction and high fantasy genres. Why did you choose to put the two together? Was it another way to express the differences between the two cultures and beliefs?
The choice was more a reflection of my own worldview, which like Vic’s is evidence-based while being open to supernatural possibilities. I also like settings that can fit within our universe—if humans are living in a strange world that is similar to our own but contains different plants or animals, I want to know how people got there. Readers familiar with Anne McCaffrey’s work will immediately recognize I’m following the precedent she set with her Pern novels. Pern is a lost space colony that resembles Earth in climate and ecology (except for the world-threatening Thread), but by the time most of the stories set in Pern take place, the space travelers’ descendants have lost all modern technology and live in a quasi-medieval society.

Another reason why I write blended fantasy and science fiction (also known as science fantasy) is that I prefer “magic” to have some basis in the physical world, even if the how and the why are made up. All the supernatural powers in Knownearth have a biological basis. There’s very little about this in A Wizard’s Forge because Vic doesn’t learn the details until Book Two,  A Wizard’s Sacrifice, but I’ve written a lot about the origins of her powers on my blog and elsewhere. You can read about the magic system here: https://amjusticeauthor.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/the-insiders-guide-awf-worldbuild/ 


If there was one author you could co-write a novel with (they can be alive or dead) who would you choose and why?
My idol is Ursula K. Le Guin, and I would cherish the opportunity to work with her because I believe she’d be a wonderful mentor. I’m in awe of her imagination and her writing skill, and I also admire how she paved the way for female speculative fiction authors in the 1960s. Her novel The Left Hand of Darkness was the first book written by a woman to win the Hugo, science fiction and fantasy’s most prestigious award. Le Guin’s imagination stretches far and wide, she writes really layered narratives that are about a lot more than the surface story, and her writing is elegant—all

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
I suppose every author has a different answer to this question. For me, the hardest genre to write in would be contemporary lit, because the ordinary problems of ordinary people aren’t terribly interesting or inspiring to me. The real world can be fascinating—I like reading biographies and nonfiction—but I’ve made it picked up very few contemporary novels and finished even fewer. Coming in second would be hard science fiction involving interstellar navigation, because I’d want the physics to be “good,” but the amount of research I’d need to do to make it so is daunting. I was recently joking with a friend about how I can nitpick the biology and medicine on Star Trek to the bone (because I know a lot about those topics), but when the captain calls for a tachyon pulse, I just nod and say, “oh yeah, the tachyon pulse will get the job done!”


The genre I most like writing in after fantasy is historical fiction. That requires a ton of research too, but I like researching clothing styles and home construction and culture and politics from historical periods, so I embrace the challenge rather than shy from it.


Vic is an ever-changing character (as you say in the premise, a scholar, a slave, a warrior and a wizard) in this book just based upon life events that influence her change. Was it hard to write Vic as she grows, changes and adapts several times throughout the book?

I didn’t find Vic hard to write at all, as her experiences and challenges are so dramatic that I could just put myself in her shoes and imagine how she would react to each situation. I also wanted to explore self-reliance as both a strength and a weakness. Her history as a loner growing up in Ourtown makes her incredibly vulnerable to Lornk but also gives her the wherewithal to escape from him and recast herself as new opportunities present themselves. She’s very good at learning, which is why she excels at physical and intellectual challenges, but her faith in her own abilities blinds her to other peoples’ capacity and desire to help her, and a lot of the troubles that arise in the second half of the novel emerge from those flaws.

Torture and manipulation can be a theme that is present in novels, however, you decided to take a route of a more “unconventional” type of torture, sexual torture. Why did you choose this form of torture? Where did the idea come from? Was it hard to write the experiences for your characters?
I didn’t really think of this approach as unconventional, since in real life, for as long as humans have existed, adults have used sexual abuse as a way of grooming young teens to do their bidding. Lornk isn’t interested in Vic as a mere sex slave to satisfy his carnal desires. Instead, he uses sexual pleasure the way Valmont does in Dangerous Liaisons, as a means of controlling his victim. As he tells her, he wants her to crave him the way an addict craves narcotics:

He laughed softly, stretching his arms out, then twining his fingers behind his neck. “I told you once—I want you to crave me. Why do you think that is?”
“So I’ll obey you.”
“Oh, I’ve had your obedience for months. What I want now is your devotion. The day may come when you will have the world in your hands, and I want you to hand it to me, without reservation.”

Lornk also isolates Vic so he’s her only source of food and comfort and comes very close to making her entirely dependent on him. She manages to escape, but his psychological hold continues to haunt her when she’s a grown woman and a renowned soldier.

Lornk encompasses everything dark in human nature. What appeals to you about writing about our dark side?
Well, a book needs a good villain, doesn’t it? As the author, I know a lot more about what motivates Lornk than what the reader sees in A Wizard’s Forge, where he is a villain in every sense of the word. However, as he hints in the passage above, he’s not operating out of pure sadistic pleasure in others’ pain. He’s playing a long-game, one that involves Vic’s role in a future conflict, and Lornk believes if his plans succeed, all of humanity will benefit, while failure could spell the end of human kind. The stakes will become clear in A Wizard’s Sacrifice.


Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
I’m really excited to announce that A Wizard’s Forge received an Honorable Mention Award for Fantasy in the 2017 Reader’s Favorite Book Awards. Readers can check out all this year’s winning titles here: https://readersfavorite.com/2017-award-contest-winners.htm

You can hear a podcast interview with me starting Sept 16 on Write On with Tom Fallwell (http://www.tomfallwell.com/podcast.html), and I’ll be participating in the Virtual Fantasy Con in October: https://www.facebook.com/VFCReadersCorner/ 


What is one book (other than one of your own) that you think should be a must read for everyone?
Recently someone asked me which book series I would take with me if I had to be stranded on a desert island, and I answered Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle, because it’s a favorite I could read over and over and still see new things. The books in the Cycle feature dragons, sorcerers, evil clerics, old dark magic, and lots and lots of sea travel, while all the stories are tales about finding one’s inner strength to serve the greater good. They are great stories that taught me a lot about heroism and the kind of person I wanted to be as I lived my very ordinary life.


I want to Thank Justice for taking the time to answer these questions and for writing a unique book. If you are looking for something different that blends High Fantasy and Sci-Fi together check out A Wizard's Forge. Justice has also provided a giveaway to go along with her interview so please see the rafflecopter link below to enter :)
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Friday, September 15, 2017

Interview & Giveaway: Mary Kubica

It is rare to come across an author that can continue to have an interesting way to tell a story as well as have an engaging story each time. You will find both of these aspect in Mary Kubica's books. I have only read The Good Girl and Every Last Lie (review to come) so far and both are engaging and truly shine with the format that Kubica has chosen to write them in. Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:


Mary Kubica

You have chosen to write in the thriller/suspense genre and you have had great success with your novels. How do you feel your books stand out from the rest in this genre?
There are so many talented suspense authors publishing books these days that I can’t say mine stand out from the rest, though I’m thrilled to be writing at this exciting time when suspense is all the rage and readers are eagerly devouring books in the genre. That said, I like to add relatable characters to my books and to keep the plotline completely plausible, answering the question: what happens when ordinary people are thrust into extraordinary situations? I want my readers to be able to put themselves in these same situations and ask themselves what they would do.

You have now released four novels, The Good Girl, Pretty Baby, Don’t You Cry and Every Last Lie (I have had the pleasure of reading two so far); From book one to book four what have you learned about yourself as an author? Has your creative and/or your writing process changed?
My writing hasn’t changed per se, but hopefully I have improved as an author with each novel. Having the opportunity to work with an editor has, by far, had the greatest impact on my work. Before teaming up with the phenomenal Erika Imranyi, I didn’t share my work with anyone. It’s been a completely invaluable experience to work with someone who can point out my strengths and weaknesses as an author, allowing me the opportunity to apply this knowledge to my manuscripts as I write.

If there was one author you could co-write a novel with (they can be alive or dead) who would you choose and why?
Heather Gudenkauf! She’s one of my favorite authors in the genre, and a wonderful person to boot. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling with Heather quite a bit, and I believe we would work well together. We seem to be of like mind, especially where our writing is concerned. 

Which one of your books are you most proud of and why? (I realize this is like choosing your favourite child)
Such a hard question! I am proud of all of my novels for different reasons (just as I love both of my children equally!), but if I had to choose, I’d pick THE GOOD GIRL. It was my first novel, one I wrote over the course of five years when my babies were napping, and it launched my career. Without THE GOOD GIRL paving the way, chances are good the following three novels would never have been written.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
I don’t know because I’ve only tried my hand at suspense! But I have an itch to write a historical fiction novel one day – with a suspenseful twist – but the vast amount of research needed to do it intimidates me. Therefore, I’m going to guess historical fiction for this questions, because of the research that needs to be done, and the painstaking attention to detail these authors must put into their work. I get to make most of my stories up!

In the two novels I have read by you, The Good Girl and Every Last Lie, you choose to tell the story in a format that of Before the incident and After. What is it about this format that appeals to you?
It adds a second layer of mystery to the novels when these stories are coming at the reader not linearly, but in multiple dimensions. Bits of information are revealed to the reader in the Before and After chapters, and it’s up to the reader to piece them together as best they can. (if you’re a reader who prefers stories told linearly, check out DON’T YOU CRY)

You also choose to have the point of view of both male and female points of view, do you find it hard to switch between these characters? Do you find it more difficult to write from the male point of view?
Not at all. There seems to be a getting-to-know-you period with all of my characters, regardless of whether they’re male or female. But once I get to know them, something extraordinary happens and I feel I know instinctively what a character would do or say in a situation. By the end of a book, I feel I know my characters quite thoroughly.


Your novels all seem to feature strong mental based themes. In The Good Girl you have Stockholm syndrome and in Every Last Lie you have paranoia and some darker parts of the human mental state. What appeals to you of having your characters “suffer” from these afflictions? Is it to make your characters feel more real to your readers?
I don’t attempt to make my characters suffer. I find them to be very human, and as humans, I believe we all suffer from some sort of inner demons – whether or not to the same extent as seen in my books. I make every attempt to make my characters relatable and real. 

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
My next novel, 11 DAYS, will release in 2018. Very soon I’ll have some more information to share on this! As for upcoming events, those can be found on my website at www.MaryKubica.com. 

What is one book (other than one of your own) that you think everyone should read
Tim O’Brien’s THE THINGS THEY CARRIED. My favorite!

I Want to thank Mary once again for taking the time to answer the questions for her interview. I know I have a few more books of hers to read yet but I am also looking forward to her new release next year. Mary has very nicely supplied a giveaway to go along with her interview, so please enter via the rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Interview: J. F. Lewis

There are times within a genre where certain aspect loose their appeal to a reader. For me Vampires had fallen out of favour awhile back and I was less likely to pick up a book that featured them. So I was in for a great surprise when I picked up J. F. Lewis' novel Staked. Here we no longer had the glittery vampires that had become so popular, but the ones of folk lore with their strength and weaknesses. Please welcome to Blood Rose Books today:


J. F. Lewis


The Urban Fantasy / Paranormal genres appear to be the genre that everyone is writing in these days (even authors that are well established in other genres), what do you think draws authors to these genres? How do you believe your novels stand out from the rest of the crowd?
Every culture has a vampire myth. Part of the core of urban fantasy is based in that ancient tradition of telling stories to explain why the dark is scary. The need to make sense of the explainable is hard wired into humans. Urban fantasy is an extension of that, adding magic to the mundane.


As for what makes my urban fantasy different...
Mine has a flesh-eating 1964 1/2 Mustang convertible? I'm only sort of joking there. Reviewers have called my fiction "literary methamphetamine" or mentioned that I dial things up to eleven. I think what they mean is that Void City novels tend to be tightly plotted and even if some moments don't seem important at first, they are. 


You won't find very many static or unimportant characters and if you think you've found one, quite often, that individual will be important eventually, even if it is a few books down the line.


You have two separate series that you are in the process of writing (The Void City and The Grudgebearer) what is it about writing a series appeals to you instead of a standalone novel?
The Grudegbearer Trilogy is meant to be read as one large manuscript much like the Lord of the Rings, but with more carnivores. 


Void City, though, is definitely more episodic. I don’t know what makes me feel differently about one than the other, except that the characters in Void City have many different stories in them and with Grudgebearer, to use most of the same set of characters, I’d have to go backward rather than forward.
 

 
If there was one author you could co-write a novel with (they can be alive or dead) who would you choose and why?
Sir Terry Pratchett is my favorite author, so he'd be my pick. His sense of humor combined with his scathing social commentary are impossible to beat.


What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
Southern Fiction. I’m just not wired to write those types of stories. I prefer magic and the supernatural.


Your main character in your Void City Series is a little unconventional when compared to all the pretty boy shiny vampires that have flooded the genre (insert eye roll). Why did you decide to create a main character that was both brutal and insane?
I’m not sure I agree with the assessment of Eric as insane, though he can definitely be brutal at times. When I set out to write STAKED, it was a reaction to the idea many writers were using at the time of vampirism being something akin to the ultimate coolness pill.


Being a vampire meant that you were suddenly super cool, beautiful, had great fashion sense, knew how to dance, and had Fung Shui out the ying yang, but that made many protagonists super emo.
With Eric, I wanted being vampire to actually be rough. All of a vampire’s bodily fluids get replaced with blood. I also took away many of the usual crutches. He can’t drink animal blood and it can’t be microwaved, so he basically has to drink blood fresh if he wants it hot. A few times a week, he wakes up so hungry, he knows someone one is going to die…


Basically, I wanted to give him the short end of the stick in a lot of ways and then have him refuse to whine about it. When life gives him lemons, he throws them back and flips “Life” the bird. 

On the same note, The Vampires in your story burn in sunlight, don’t like crosses and have some kind of ability to turn into a bat like creature. Was it important to you to keep them a little more classic? Maybe bring the classic ideas in to a more modern time?
Yes, I took all of the vampire myths and said these are all true most of the time, then figured out how to have them all be true while keeping things manageable from a logistics standpoint. In the end I settled on vampirism being the ultimate Rorschach test. The more unique and interesting you were in life, the more likely you are to be higher on the vampiric food chain. The higher up you go the more powerful you are.


So boring people become Drones, barely even vampires. Soldiers are next, possessing most of the your stereotypical powers and weaknesses common to vampires form their home mythology. Masters get all those, plus usually one traditional weakness doesn’t work on them. Vlads are kind of like Dracula: they have all the power and there is only one way to kill one and make it stick, which varies by individual, though it is tied into their home mythology.

 
You write from both the male and female (Eric & Tabitha)point of view in your Void City series, do you find it more difficult to write from a female perspective? Did you have some help getting in to the female mind?
Writing from a woman’s point of view is awesome. My best example of how I approach it can be summed up by a conversation I had with my wife the night before my first con. We were having dinner and I asked her what she was thinking about.


“Well,” she said, “I’m wondering if the kids are behaving for your mother. I think I probably should have ordered something different. I’m trying to decide whether or not we have time to run somewhere and buy an easel for you to display your cover art better… Why? What are you thinking about?”
I looked up at her and said, “I’m chewing.”


In short, when writing from a female point of view, just remember that they're usually thinking about six things at once.


For those of us that have not had a chance to read your Grudgebearer series, could you give a run down on the world, characters and premise?
It’s exactly like the Lord of the Rings except there are no Hobbits, there is no ring, and Legolas eats anyone who gets in his way.


Seriously, though, while there are several new races (Aern, Vael, Eldrennai, Sri’Zaur, etc.) and enough characters that I should probably have included a spreadsheet, it really boils down to the idea of an ancient empire having to reach out to their nigh immortal former slaves and ask for help after having broken a treaty that kept the peace for a couple hundred years. It's about slavery and restitution, about the importance of family, about kids growing up and making their own decisions... it's about gender inequalities, disparities in power, and the bond between brothers in arms... but it's also a tightly plotted narrative with wit and humor. Fans of Eric and Greta will probably like Kholster and Rae'en. You should read it.


Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
I'm currently at work on the next two Void City books. Readers can follow me on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJFLewis/) or Twitter (@jf_lewis) to get updates on availability and other projects.
 


What is one book (other than one of your own) that you think everyone should read
Roger Zelazney's Nine Princes in Amber. Corwin is a snarky protagonist and I love the concepts tossed around in that book. I'm going to cheat and give you two. The second one is The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold. Her protagonist is one of the best "thinking' heroes since the creation of Sherlock Holmes.


I want to say thank you once again to Lewis for taking the time to answer these questions and give us some insight on he books. I know my favourite answer is the one about writing from a woman's point of view, lol. If you are looking for an old but fresh take on Vampires I suggest you try his Void City Series. Do not let the covers fool you, they are dark, gritty and have some gore and action to them, basically everything I want in a Vampire book :)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Feature & Giveaway: B. A. Paris

Unfortunately Paris was not able to do an interview this year but nicely offered a giveaway, so here is a little feature about Paris and her books.

If you have not heard of B. A. Paris' debut novel Behind Closed Doors you do not know what you are missing. It is one of the best debut that I have read not in just the past year, but within my time as a reviewer for this blog. I did not know what I was expecting from that book, but Paris delivered so much more.
I am currently reading her second novel The Break Down and while I am not too far in to it, I can already say I know I am going to like it. I am also excited to see that Paris' third novel Bring Me Back is going to be released in 2018, which I know I will be looking out for.

If you are looking for some interviews that Paris has done, I have found some good ones at:
Happy Ever After and the Book Review CafĂ©. Hopefully next year I will be able to Host Paris and ask her some of the questions I'm dying to know :)

Here are a blurbs about the books:
Behind Closed Doors
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.
He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.
You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.
Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

The Break Down
If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?
Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods. And the driver who was later
found murdered.
She’s forgetting everything. Where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.
What she can’t forget is the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt...
Or the silent phone calls she’s been receiving since that night. And the growing fear that someone’s watching her.

Bring Me Back
The disappearance
The suspicion
The fear
A small Russian doll. Innocent. Innocuous.
But suddenly finding the dolls left in and near the house is torture to Finn and his wife.
It's a sign that Finn's girlfriend, Layla, who disappeared fourteen years earlier, is still alive. And so the happiness he has managed to find with Layla's sister, Ellen, is brought into question. He loves Ellen - but does he love her as much as he once loved Layla? If Layla came back, could he fall in love with her all over again? Could he love her enough to leave Ellen for her?


As stated above Paris has very nicely offered a giveaway even though she was unable to do an interview, so enter the rafflecopter link below.
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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Interview & Giveaway: Nicholas Sansbury Smith

There are times when you find an author on a whim and get blown away. This is what happened to me when I picked up Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith, it was totally an unexpected hit for me in the past year. Due to this book I have been on the search for his other series and so far I have read Orbs (review to come) and Extinction Horizon (review to come) and have enjoyed all of them. While they may share some similar elements all of the series stand out in many different ways. Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:


Nicholas Sansbury Smith


You have a work history with the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management to author, why the change? Did your work experience prepare you to be an author?
I was ready to focus on writing and had the opportunity so I took the leap. Yes, absolutely it has helped with my writing. I worked in disaster mitigation and learned a lot about how the government operates during and after a disaster. The knowledge I gained has directly influenced many of my stories. I think my work at HSEMD gave me a unique perspective and I’ve used it to try and create unique stories.

From your Orbs Series to your Extinction series and your new Hell Diver series; series appear to be your go to. What do you think are the main components of writing a successful series? Why do you choose to write a series instead of standalone novels?
I like telling a longer story, and a series allows me to develop characters and focus on world building that I’m not able to do in a standalone. Series are also very popular and have become a trend on Amazon. I personally love reading a longer story that continues with episodes and enjoy writing them as well.

If there was one author you could co-write a novel with (they can be alive or dead) who would you choose and why?
Great question and a difficult one to answer. I’d probably go with my current co-writer, Anthony Melchiorri. We both have a similar style and work well together, which is very important.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
Probably non-fiction. I love researching a story, but I also like the creativity involved in making things up. I’m not sure I would be good at re-telling a true story or writing a biography. For me, the fun is making new material and building new worlds and characters.

Your three main series (Extinction Cycle, Orbs and Hell Divers) all feature some form of mutation of humans, what appealed to you about mutation instead of other horror monster out there to choose from?
A mutated human is more horrifying to me because that monster used to be a human, with a past, and a family, and a career. Can you imagine having some sort of your brain still functioning but being trapped in a mutated, monstrous body? To me, that would be Hell.

I have only read your novel Hell Divers (so far, I have the first Orbs and Extinction books on my nook) but in all of your novels you paint a bleak future not only for humans but the fate of the Earth. Is this the future you see us heading towards? How prepared are you for an apocalypse?
I personally believe humans will continue to survive regardless if civilization collapses. I also think that is very likely to happen in the next century. I agree with Stephen Hawking that we will need to eventually leave this planet if we hope to survive as a species. If we can’t leave earth, we may only survive in small numbers after a cataclysmic event, but humans are very resilient and intelligent creatures that will find a way to carry on life in some manner or another. In terms of the most likely of ways civilization will end, in my opinion, it will be a viral outbreak or natural disaster like a super volcano. When I worked for HSEMD I saw all of the different threats we face as a species, and there are too many to list. It’s quite depressing if you think too much about it.

Hell Divers is probably one of the most unique premises I have read in a very long time. Where did your inspiration come from in the creation of the world and premise of the books? Are you a sky diving enthusiast?
I’m not a sky diving enthusiast, and I’m actually afraid of heights. I like to keep my feet on the ground, and find the concept of Hell Divers, actually terrifying. The premise of the story came from a brainstorming session with my literary agent. I explained the idea and we went from there. I really wanted to do something different than stories about bunkers underground or survivors living in shelters in post apocalyptic settings. At the time I wrote Hell Divers those were the most popular stories. Don’t get me wrong, I love those types of books, but I wanted to do something different. I decided to take humanity to the sky and have the divers jump back to the surface to retrieve parts that kept the ships in the air. The plot developed from there...

X was one of my favourite characters in books that I read in the past year. What went in to the creation of the character?
That’s really cool. I’m glad you liked his character. When creating X, I decided I wanted to write a flawed character that had a fighting gene that wouldn’t allow him to surrender. No matter what the world threw at him, he kept pushing onward. There are a lot of reasons not to like X, but I think the reader still roots for his success by the time they get to the end of book one.

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share? Personally I’m hoping for some information on the next book in the Hell Divers series, Ghosts.
Ghosts is now available in all formats, and Extinction Cycle, War will be out in November. My next major event won’t be until next year as I’m spending the rest of 2017 finishing up Hell Divers 3: Deliverance, and the Trackers and Orbs series.

What is one book (other than one of your own) that you think everyone should read
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. Hands down my favorite book of all time.

I just want to say thank you again to Nicholas for taking the time to be part of my Blogoversary. I know I'm always happy when I can find an established author that I have never heard of before so I can make my way through their books and not have to wait years for the next one. Honestly if you are a fan of Post-Apocalyptic or the world just going to Hell, then you need to check out Sansbury Smith's series, you will not be disappointed. Nicholas has very nicely supplied a giveaway (US) to go along with his interview so make sure to enter in the rafflecopter link below.


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Friday, September 1, 2017

Interview & Giveaway: Hollie Overton

Wow I cannot believe that it is already September and I am starting my &th year Blogoversary event. If you have been part of previous years you know I always like to feature a debut and up and coming author. This year's kickoff author is Hollie Overton, whose debut novel Baby Doll was a really good debut novel that explore the unique relationship between kidnapper and captive. Pleas Welcome to Blood Rose Books today:

Hollie Overton

If there was one author, you could co-write a novel with (they can be alive or dead) who would you choose and why? 
I’d have to say JK Rowling. I love the world she created and to be able to work with her and see how she does what she does would be amazing.

Is there a book, author, story or person that inspired you to become a writer? 
My reading has always been varied and across genres so I don’t know if there’s one author or book I can credit inspiring me to become a writer. A few of my favorites growing up were Stephen King, Mary Higgins Clark, R.L. Stein, Sue Grafton, James Patterson, Francine Pascal, and the list goes on and on.  My biggest inspiration though and the reason I became a storyteller was my mother. She always encouraged my creativity and has been my guiding force.

You are one of the series writers for the TV for several popular shows (Shadowhunters, Cold Case and The Client List), why did you decide to write a novel?  
I love writing television but there are times when I’ve struggled to get work. It was very frustrating to keep writing scripts and to feel like the door was constantly slamming in your face. I was unemployed for awhile, and incredibly frustrated with my TV career. I decided I needed to go back to writing for the pure love and joy of it and to stop worrying about all the business stuff and the marketability, etc. that starts to dominate your writing when you work in Hollywood. That’s when everything changed.  I just had the spark of an idea, and suddenly I couldn’t stop writing about Lily, the central character in Baby Doll. Ninety pages later, I had what is basically the first part of the novel.

How does writing a novel differ from writing for TV? 
In some ways they are very similar. You’re creating a story from nothing, creating compelling characters, a compelling plot, etc. But TV writing is collaborative. You have to be willing to share your ideas, and have some or depending on the day, all of those ideas rejected. You’re not in charge and that’s what you have to do. Writing novels is all about you. For better or worse, you make the decisions so there’s no one to blame if readers don’t like your characters or your plot. Writing novels is also very solitary which if you’re extroverted like I am, can be challenging. As a TV writer, you’re surrounded by people, sharing ideas, laughing, talking, making one another work harder to tell the best story possible. That’s why I enjoy doing both!  I get the best of the two worlds.

Shadowhunters is based upon Cassandra Clare’s bestselling series The Mortal Instruments, what are some additional challenges for writing a show that is based upon such a well-known novel and characters? 
Shadowhunters is a big epic story so the challenge was always finding ways to streamline the plot without sacrificing the core essence of the book and the characters.  There’s a lot of pressure to honor what the fans love while also finding ways to surprise them. So much thought and care is taken into telling these stories because all the writers are fans of the novels and understand how important these stories are to the fans. We worked very hard to make sure we kept pivotal moments, while also trying to put a unique spin on things. 

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?  
I imagine historical fiction would be quite challenging, making sure you’re getting all the history correct while also telling an entertaining story. If you’re not skilled, you could have a book full of facts and a dull story or you could have an interesting story but none of the history adds up.  To me, that seems like a lot of pressure. 

Stockholm syndrome plays a big part in this book and I thought that dynamic between Lily and her kidnapper was really well done and not as straight forward as many people think it should be. And it in the story it was important to highlight this relationship, what type of research did you do on the syndrome? Was there a real life incident that you modeled theirs after? 
I’m so glad you found that part well done! I consulted with an FBI agent who handled abduction cases as speaking with a social worker friend about the psychological effects abuse would have on someone. But I didn’t research that part of Baby Doll as much as others because over the years I’d read a lot about kidnappings and the power an abductor has over their captor. In my mind, Lily could never really love Rick but the hold he had over her wouldn’t just vanish over night. She’d have to fight to rid herself of those feelings and how he’d manipulated her. That’s what I wanted to explore.

You are an identical twin yourself, so the “twin aspect” you highlight within Baby Doll is normal for you. How much of the interaction between Lily and Abby is based upon interactions between you and your sister? Did you try to put yourselves in the mindset of these two characters and think how you would each might have reacted? 
I’d say almost ninety-nine percent of their dynamic was inspired by own relationship with my twin sister, Heather. We’re incredibly close. We talk on the phone constantly, text nonstop and see each other probably six days a week.  What’s interesting about the twin relationship is that you really struggle to find your identity on your own but at some point when you get older, at least in our case, you accept that this person really does complete you.  There’s no one in the world I’d rather hang out with than my sister. That’s why it’s so devastating when Abby and Lily lose one another. They really are losing a piece of themselves. So it was very easy to put myself in Abby and Lily’s shoes. 

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share? 
My next book THE WALLS was released on August 10th in the US and UK and I’m having a book launch in LA at Book Soup in West Hollywood on the 10th and in Corpus Christi, TX at Barnes and Noble on Sept. 23rd. I’m also interviewing new TV jobs and I’m working on my third book.


What is one book (other than one of your own) that you think everyone should read?  
One of my favorites recently is All the Little Children by Jo Furniss. It’s The Road meets Lord of the Flies with two amazing female heroines at the center. The book isn’t out until September but I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy.  I only planned to read a few pages. Instead, I cancelled all my plans and devoured it in one day. It’s a fast-paced read with tons of heart and emotional twists and turns. 

I just want to say Thank you once again to Hollie for being part of my Blogoversary I know it takes time to answer the questions and as you can tell Hollie is very busy. I really do recommend that you check out her debut novel as see for yourself just how well done the Stockholm syndrome aspect was done. Hollie has very nicely provided a giveaway (INT) to go along with her interview, so please enter the rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway