Author Interview: Brandie Davis

ReneeToday we have author Brandie Davis in our hot seat! We reviewed her book Renee: All Hail the Queen earlier in the month.

You created a roller coaster of a book with some pretty damaged characters. Were all these intertwining stories difficult for you to write as a result?

Not at all, in all honestly intertwining each characters story with on another made writing Renee a lot easier. I believe the six degrees of separation plugged into the storyline made it nerve wrecking and unpredictable for a reader which is exactly what I wanted. It’s one thing for your enemies to be in the same city as you but it’s a whole different story when they’re in your home.

Through a lot of the book, Renee seemed like a prize to be won or an obstacle to be overcome, but you managed to show her human side through her times alone and her relationship with Julian. Do you think that viewpoint is a result of her hiding and running, as she puts it, or do you think that the people around her built her up and put her on a pedestal?

That viewpoint is a result of who Renee is. Everything that Renee has said and done are her characters traits coming alive and allowing readers to see who she is. As human beings we all have several layers, and in Renee she shows you each and every one of hers when the time calls for it.

People tend to think that a degree in English helps with writing. Do you think that’s true?

I believe it helps when it comes to grammar and etc. but otherwise you are stepping into a complete different world when you decide to write a book verses writing a paper. Your whole mind frame changes and new rules are applied; it helps with a few things but not with everything.

I read a lot and I can safely say that this is one of the first times I’ve read a character with an Electra complex. Did that come about organically or was that an intentional plot device?

When writing Renee the Electra complex was purposely placed into the plot because I knew when stepping into the literary world if you wanted to stand out you had to write something worth talking about. While in school I learned about the Oedipus complex so when I penned Renee I went the opposite route and wrote about the Electra complex.

The ending leaves room for a sequel. Will we be seeing more of Renee?

Yes you will! Renee 2: The Protégé is now out and available on paperback, kindle, and nook for readers to find out whether or not Renee holds on to her crown.

Renee: All Hail the Queen is available at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Create Space

Guest post: Alan Kessler

ASC

The ancients effectively traversed the separate spheres of logic and myth. They created both science and gods. Thales of Miletus, considered the father of science, was the first Greek philosopher to explain the physical world in terms of natural, not supernatural, causes. The Parthenon, however, is dedicated to the goddess Athena. In pre-modern times religion, and the logos of science and mathematics, existed as independent but not mutually exclusive ways of understanding and ordering the universe. Modernity has brought into its temples of steel and glass the money lenders while casting out into the peripheral wasteland of its culture the religionists, pagan and otherwise, who know there must be more to existence than a material world. There is a spiritual emptiness in the center of our 21st century lives. A new vacuum cleaner or trip to Disneyland won’t explain the fundamental question of why we exist.

What has become of the supernatural?

To help answer that question, let’s examine what has happened to Satan.
 He is a fiction, a boogieman who in movies and books is portrayed in soul stealing caricature as an enemy of God who wants to destroy man. For modern man, the devil doesn’t exist. The purpose of the myth creating him has been lost. We no longer see in him the complexity of his character and what it represents: all of us are fallen angels expressing at different times in our lives subtle and not so obvious moments of manipulation, base desires, perhaps even evilness–the dark part of human existence that is as much a part of us as the good.
When we regard Satan as nothing more than a Halloween character, a pitchfork and horns cliché, we lose a chance to understand, through him, more about ourselves.
In my novel, A Satan Carol, I wanted to take one aspect of his personality, the human feeling of abandonment, and explore its ramifications in a horror story about faith.
A Satan Carol is available at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Goodreads

For more information on Alan S. Kessler and his upcoming projects, check out his website here.

Author Interview: T.D. Thomas

The Author of this week’s book, T. D. Thomas, graciously took time out of his schedule to answer some questions for us.  If you wanted to know more about the book, here’s your chance!
HERA, QUEEN OF GODS1) Where did your interest in Greek mythology begin?

It began in the solarium of my grandparents’ house when I was growing up. I used to visit my grandparents every summer and every Christmas until my early twenties. While they were busy getting meals ready for the family, I’d sit in their sunroom and read through their old encyclopedia set. (This was long before they’d even heard of the Internet, let alone actually bought a computer.) Because their encyclopaedias were so ancient, most of the information in them was out-of-date, so I tended to drift towards more historical and mythological subjects: topics that don’t go obsolete very quickly. From those humble beginnings in small-town Ontario, a passion (some might say, “obsession”) for mythology was born.

2) Most people wouldn’t think about Hera’s life and transform her into such a sympathetic character. Can you tell us a little bit about why her, and what drew you to her?

I’m a big “underdog” person. I love rooting for the long-shot, the dark horse, and all the myths I read really painted Hera as a villain. But when you dig deeper, you realize she’s not just a mean-spirited tyrant. She had a rough life. Really rough. It was then I realized that, like most “villains,” Hera has her own story to tell, and if you understood things from her perspective, maybe she wouldn’t be such a villain. In fact, maybe she wouldn’t be a villain at all.

3) I enjoyed the inclusion of mortals who can either use magic or have powers outside the gods’ skillset. Dreamers are a big one in this. Do dreamers have a basis in the mythos? Will there be other humans with powers?

I’ve read a bit about lucid dreaming: the idea that people can take control of their dreams when they sleep. That was the genesis for the idea of a “Dreamer” in my world. It’s not from Greek mythology directly, but I think it works well in that setting. Ancient Greeks already had the idea of multiple worlds, or possibly dimensions: they believed in Olympus and Hades. Why not throw in a few extra places (like the Dreamlands) as well? More than that, I really like the idea that you can’t judge a book by its cover, especially when it comes to people: hence why, in my story, gods take mortal bodies and an ordinary kid could have godlike, Dreamer powers. I wanted to show readers a world where more is hidden than seen, where anything could exist just beneath the surface. 4) Given the cliff-hanger ending, it’s clear this isn’t the only book in the series. What else can we expect from Hera and the other gods? More. You can definitely expect more. :p Hera isn’t one to take defeat lying down. She may be bloodied; she may be bruised; she may even be exhausted, but she has a lot of fight left in her. She’s not going down easy. That said, if she’s going to win in the end against the forces of Chaos, she’ll need a lot of help from new gods and other allies and, who knows? Maybe she’ll need some familiar friends to pitch in again too.

5) Any current projects you’re working on? What’s next in your life as an author?

The sequel to “Hera, Queen of Gods” will be out in October 2013: “Hera, Queen of Mortals.” Then, the hard part will be deciding whether to keep on with the series and write a third installment, or take a break and start fresh with some of the other ideas buzzing around my head. For example, I’ve written the first draft of a novel about a girl who grows up in a mysterious cult, but tries to break free when she realizes the truth about her “family.” Whichever direction I choose, I know I’ll have another urban fantasy novel out in 2014.

When he’s not battling to save Azeroth from its latest calamity, T.D. Thomas lives with six of his closest friends in a tiny house in the frosty north known as Canada. There, they are all ruled over by a little white dog named Teo, who firmly believes he’s a reincarnated Egyptian pharaoh and demands to be treated as such. T.D.’s favourite things include personal space, temperatures above 0 degrees Celsius, and cats who don’t take guff from pretentious little white dogs.

Hera, Queen of Gods can be found at:

Amazon

Goodreads

Website: http://www.td-thomas.com

Review: Hera, Queen of Gods

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: Yay!

HERA, QUEEN OF GODSSo to be upfront, I’m not a huge young adult fan. Given the glut of YA that’ve popped out in recent years and the rather unimpressive writing that goes along with them, I tread carefully with YA.

Hera, Queen of Gods follows Hera as she leads a handful of the Olympic gods on Earth as they run after the Fates. Bound in mortal form and with only one power each, the gods must battle against their inner politics, the problems of Olympus, and the forces of darkness as they try to recover one of the most powerful beings around.

The entire story is rife with Greek mythology and its inner workings, and although some of the more intricate details are explained, anyone who isn’t familiar with the pantheon and the more popular parts of Greek mythology should bone up before reading this. It’s not for the Greek-ignorant. While I can understand not wanting to break into the incredibly lengthy and rich past for every character, a few more details here and there would have greatly helped for people who aren’t well-versed in the mythos.

Having said that, Hera is a strong, sympathetic character. As the goddess who’s constantly cheated on and given unhappy circumstances in her personal and professional life (Corralling those gods would be a majorly sucky job, let’s be honest), it’s easy to see how she’s developed the strength of character in adversity, and why she makes some choices. It’s also understandable why the first sign of positive male attention leaves her in a strange, difficult situation. Yes, there’s romantic elements. No, they’re not graphic. They’re quite sweet, so no need for parental concern about sex.

Because of the accelerating timeframe and rapid developments in the plot, the action turnaround is fast and furious. There are some points in the novel that have so many quick switcharounds that I would have appreciated some breathing space to really get into Hera’s head and feel more of her. For a book that has the first person POV, there’s not very much in the way of internal monologue. She feels a bit set apart from the reader, and I Think the book would have been better off as third person for that reason. If we’d had more time and space with her, it would have really used first person to full effect.

Still, this in no way ruins the story, which in and of itself, is fantastic. The mystery of who took the Fates and who the heck is this Justin guy who keeps helping keeps you in suspense throughout. There are consequences for the characters—gods who die and mortals who perish. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and it’s bloody glorious.

Hera, Queen of Gods can be found at:

Amazon

Goodreads

Website: http://www.td-thomas.com

 

This Week’s Read: Hera, Queen of Gods

HERA, QUEEN OF GODSThe Fates are missing. Hera has no choice but to lead a handful of gods to the human world to search for the missing goddesses, even though it means giving up her powers and temporarily becoming mortal. But mortality begins to change Hera in unexpected ways, and it gets much worse after she meets Justin, a boy who defies every prejudice she once had about mortals.

Torn between who she’s becoming and who she needs to be in order to fulfill her duty, Hera must survive a horde of murderous creatures sent to exploit her new weakness. In the end, only she can stop a traitorous plot conceived by a secret alliance of ancient and new enemies, a plot that threatens to destroy not only the order Hera is sworn to protect, but all of existence itself.

 

 

 

 

Hera, Queen of Gods can be found at:

Amazon

Goodreads

Website: http://www.td-thomas.com

Review: Solstice- Landra’s Take

Review:  Maybe

Genre: Chick Lit/ Women’s Fiction

Do you like singing? Because Elizabeth did, until everything came crashing down. Her audience doesn’t recognize, her boyfriends doing everyone but her, so Elizabeth runs away to find herself. Enter the town of Sunset Ferry, host of the Rock ‘n Roll festival Solstice, as Elizabeth’s haven and place to unwind. Here she meets the additional characters that round out her piecing herself together days, including Victoria and Sophie (owner and daughter of the Sunset Ferry Hotel), the rock band Avalanche (with hot lead singer Ricky Steel), and the taciturn, abrasive manager of Avalanche, Nathan.

What I liked: A singer searching for herself is a great way to start a book. Elizabeth was down on her luck and ready to throw the towel in. A trip to the middle of nowhere is bound to get her back on track, except it’s confusing and crazy. Not to mention she’s rebounding with a rock star, who isn’t as douche-baggie as she originally thought. I liked Victoria, the hotel owner. She’s nice, wise, and tends to be the most level-headed of all the characters in the book.

What I wanted more of: Elizabeth finding herself. There was more head-hopping and getting other parts of character’s stories. When I think chick-lit I expect to stay in the main heroine’s POV, and we hopped around instead. The hopping wasn’t a bad thing, but I felt it took away from enjoying Elizabeth’s growing up moments.

What I didn’t like: There were a lot of word mixups and word redundancy. This book could have used another editing pass IMO. Sophie and some of the other characters didn’t really grow or at least we’re allowed to dive in deep enough to see the growth. Second, the battle of the bands was nearly non-existent and I really wanted Elizabeth to find a new kind of music to sing outside of her classical training. Growth involves stepping outside of comfort zones. Finally, the characters Sophie and Elizabeth made some unlikable choices, as heroines, or women intended to inspire them seemed more selfish and inwardly focused at all times. This made it hard to feel sympathetic for the characters and relate to them, though they seemed to get things figured out by the end of the book.

This book dwells in a lot of reality and for some readers that may be what you’re looking for. It’s a decent story that lacked in a few areas, but overall I wouldn’t mind living in Sunset Ferry or getting to stay at a particular hotel

This Week’s Read: Solstice by Gemma Harris

Solstice coverElizabeth Rose rules the West End. Or at least she did. When she headlines the Musical Theatre Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Elizabeth has the biggest reality check ever when the audience don’t really know who she is! That combined with finding her unsupportive boyfriend in bed with another woman, leads to Elizabeth having a meltdown. She finds herself jumping on a train armed with nothing but her bag, her purse and no sense of direction in her life.
The trains stops in the sea side town of Sunset Ferry who are in the middle of their own festival – Solstice, a month’s worth of pure rock music. Slowly Elizabeth starts to let go and enjoy herself without the confines of her fame and with only Hotel Manager Victoria and her wannabe musician daughter Sophie knowing who she really is.
After an initial run in with lead singer of top rock band Avalanche, the gorgeous but full of himself Ricky Steal, Elizabeth starts to believe that sweet music really can be made with him, despite the madness going on around her.

The latest Chick Lit from the Author of The Second Lamppost From The Left and Twenty Nine and Counting.

Purchase a copy of Solstice at:

Amazon

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